Fri, 20 Jan 1995 11:26:53 -0500
My college (Capital Community Technical College in Hartford, CT) is only a
block away from the lovely Twain House on Farmington Avenue. I tried
desperately, when the college re-named itself three years ago, to get it named
Mark Twain Community College, but to no avail. Some benighted students and
staff asked the question, "Wasn't Twain a racist?" The answer to the
question was not nearly as important as the fact that the question had been
asked, and that was the end of that proposal--except that it got the college
some short-lived but nasty national press.
But to the question at hand: if you read those parts of Huckleberry Finn in
which Twain is taking those little jabs at the pretensions of the Grangerford
Mansion and then go tour his home on Farmington Avenue, you do sort of wonder
if he wasn't indulging himself (with some secret pleasure, indeed) in those
vices of taste that he mocks in his writing. It's kind of fun, I think, to
regard the house as a kind of parody--a delightful parody at that.