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Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 19 Feb 2023 13:21:18 -0800
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I’ve just received a copy of Lewis Hyde’s “Trickster Makes This World”, 
and found in his introduction a bit that reinforces my idea that the 
world Twain experiences in “Roughing It’ is not so much the world of 
Tricksters but of social pathology. Hyde writes “Most of the travelers, 
liars, thieves, and shameless personalities are not tricksters at all, 
then. Their disruptions are not subtle enough, or pitched at a high 
enough level. Trickster isn’t a run-of-the-mill liar and thief”. Hyde 
adds a note to this comment: “If a trickster were ever to get into 
power, he would stop being trickster. The deceitful politician is a 
crook, not a culture hero.”

Hyde also emphasizes that Trickster is an archetype, not a specific 
character from literature. He referred specifically to Ralph Ellison’s 
“Invisible Man”, who remarks “Don’t dip my novel in that vat of 
archetype acid.”

As I read it, Hyde does not wish to identify specific characters as 
tricksters but to hold “the trickster stories up against specific cases 
of the imagination in action, hoping that each might illuminate the other.”

It is interesting that there is almost no mention of Twain in Hyde’s 
book, only a note on Mark Twain’s witticism about Wagner--”His music is 
better than it sounds”, and this is actually in reference to the music 
of John Cage.

-- 
/Unaffiliated Geographer and Twain aficionado/

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