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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 7 Jan 1995 01:30:57 -0500
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Autobiography preferences?  Paine's, Paine's, by all means Paine's.  The
Neider edition is miles from what SLC intended, if we can still talk about
authorial intention in this post-Barthesian era.  Neider's chronologizing
of something that was largely dictated in the semi-arbitrary sequence
of a playfully free-associating mind is one of the biggest disappointments
in the long history of Twain texts.  Sort of a Classic Comics version,
or a colorization, or a Disneyfication, or . . . well, you get my drift.
And yes, publication of the full Autobio -- including all those oddities
T just threw in there, newspaper clippings and such -- would be a real
public service, and I hope MTP gets around to it one day.  The textual
problems are myriad; I mentioned this to somebody at MTP when I was
there doing some dissertation research a few years ago, and the mere
term "Autobiography" produced visible shudders; still, this sort of
challenging textual scholarship would be well worth the trouble.
Has anyone on the list read a book by Maria Marotti from about 1989 or
so, _The Duplicating Imagination_, which argues among other things for
postmodernist readings of some of T's late materials, including the
autobiographical sprawl-stuff at MTP?  I'd be interested in the views
of various Twain-Listers about Marotti's work.  My own reaction: positive,
impressed even, although moments of "Bakhtin 101" prose occasionally
intrude.  (Bridges between MT studies and Continental theory are worth
building & strengthening, I'd say, though I know many differ on this.)
But I digress.  Down w/ Neiderizations.  Up w/ Paine's edition of _MTA_,
regardless of what he and Duneka did to the _Stranger_ (at least as
heinous a crime as Neider's).
Free-associating a bit myself,
Bill Millard