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Meryem Constance Ersoz <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 6 Apr 1996 11:01:05 -0800
text/plain (27 lines)
delirium tremens is a symptom of severe alcohol poisoning...not the
by-product of four drinks...isn't alcohol, in moderate quantities, also
associated with truth-telling and confessional? greg obviously did not
play the hilarious drinking game "i never" as an undergraduate. four
drinks seems just about in the zone where we used to use to unveil all our
secrets without being able to remember to whom they belonged the next day.

twain's book is certainly a commentary about the state of our cultural
memory in the face of technological horrors. it anticipates processes of
forgetting and madness in the face of modern apocalypses more than it
emphasizes memory (which, in CY, is about the implementation of humor in
cultural memory as a strategy for a "forgetful memory" which elides the
horror of some of the consequences of Hank's imperialism until it can no
longer be ignored, in the end).

if we agree that the text implies that the M.T. narrator and Hank
continue drinking throughout the narrative (ignoring the concept of a
unity of narrative time and real time, for the moment), then perhaps the
book is not a descent into delirium but a slow drinkers' revelation of the
(underlying) truth of Hank's own horror at the changes he inflicted on the
culture? admitting the truth could certainly result in the sort of guilt
and madness and confusion portrayed in the end...the mind's own defense
against modern horrors.

Meryem Ersoz
University of Oregon