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Thu, 10 Apr 1997 00:35:17 -0400
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??From:   IN%"[log in to unmask]"  9-APR-1997 05:32:04.54
Subj:     RE: [Fwd: Re: C Span]

Would you consider forwarding these wonderful comments to the
entire list?

Wes Britton wrote:

> Are we really having such a dirth of acedemic thought to get so
> embroiled in what is pure speculation?  It is one thing, as
Fiedler did, to
> deal with homosexuality for literary criticism, another to make
odd claims on
> biography and expect a civil dialouge.  What Hoffman has done,
> as many have pointed out, is create a case of innuendo and the
worst logical syllogism
> in literary history: there were gays in the west, Twain went
west, Twain
> was gay.  The real point is, there is no evidence, so why is
anybody bothering
> to give Hoffman the time of day?  Titillation, outrage, wishful
> whatever, our fuel only sells more of his books.
> My major concern is how many people will get sucked into putting
> book on library shelves and forever damning Twain scolrs to have
> to deal with this artificial issue.  The request, for example, by
one Forum
> member to begin assessing Twain's works through the prisms of
> homosexual connections is irresponsible.  It does not take us
closer to the
> work of Mark Twain, but rather sheds light only on those
> in true scolarship, what the works and words of a writer say to
> Whatever the case, can we get back to the business of real
> Mark Twain discussion and get out of
> fantasyland?  He deserves better and so do we.
> wes britton

Since I sent this note to Messr. Mooster, the folowing analogy came
to mind--at one Hartford conference, the following claim was made:

1. Sleeping with prostitutes in the West was, of course common.
Many of these ladies were black.

2. Mark Twain very likely slept with prostitutes, very likely black

3. This accounts for his sympathetic portrayal of Roxy in
_Pudd'nhead Wilson_.
This is exactly Hoffman's logic.