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Sender: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sat, 9 Mar 1996 11:39:28 -0500
In-Reply-To: <960308112601474-MTATSU*[log in to unmask]> from <"[log in to unmask]"@Mar>
Reply-To: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Parts/Attachments: text/plain (34 lines)
> Apparently _1,002d Arabian Night_ was the railway circulation book Clemens
> had discussed publishing anonymously.
> Is there a good critical analysis of this work which deals with switched
> and confused sexual identities?  Or any comparison of this work to _Prince
> and the Pauper_?

Is there any analysis at all?  Barbara's questions are about the most
favorable remarks I've seen.

A footnote in _M.T.'s Letters to his Publishers_ (174) refers the reader
to _Mark Twain at Work_ where Bernard DeVoto states, "[F]ortunately
Howells disliked it when he read it, the following autumn [1883].
(Superlatives are risky but '1002' is probably the dullest of all Mark's
works, it is almost lethal.)" (59-60)

DeVoto also thought _The Prince and the Pauper_ "dull", written "in
essentially an uncreative time" while "_Huckleberry Finn_ gathered dust
for six years" (56).

The introduction to "1,002d Arabian Night" in _M.T.'s Satires and
Burlesques_ quotes Howells' 18 Sep. 1883 letter to Clemens, "'[I]t seemed
to me I was made a fellow-sufferer with the Sultan' . . . '[I]t was not
your best or your second-best' . . . 'skirts a kind of fun which you can't
afford to indulge in' . . . 'falls short of being amusing'" (89).

It's understandable why Clemens would wish to publish this piece
anonymously as a railroad book.  However, he was correct that it would
have market value as, a hundred years later, Twain enthusiasts would wish
to examine the book he wrote the summer he finished _Huck Finn_.

perhaps pedantically short of being amusing, but not lethal, and, in good
company, if considered dull-------larry marshburne   [log in to unmask]