I am a little surprised at the level of vitriol aimed at Gropnick. We might
disagree with his assessment of the autobiography volume, but we need not
try to diminish him as a writer or a person (he has in fact quite an
extensive record as a writer and New Yorker contributor). I think this
happens too often when our image of Mark Twain is challenged or if someone
turns away from a conventional response to Twain. It makes us seem a bit
like radical fundamentalists in the tone of our response.
On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 4:51 PM, Brent M. Colley <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> Forget about Adam Gopnik. Men like him enjoy stirring the pot and
> don't deserve a minute more in the spotlight.
> "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the
> strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them
> better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
> whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives
> valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is
> no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive
> to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who
> spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the
> triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at
> least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be
> with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
> -Theodore Roosevelt
> I am enjoying the Autobiography a great deal. Seeing that I'm learning
> about Mark Twain in reverse order (No surprise, I was a breech baby)
> what this Volume has done for me is- it's made me aware of Twain's
> storytelling skills. I have read the Hornet story starting on page 127
> at least 15 times. It's brilliantly written.
> Great job MTP!
> "It is the will of God that we must have critics, and missionaries,
> and congressmen, and humorists, and we must bear the burden."
> - Mark Twain
Michael J. Kiskis
Leonard Tydings Grant Professor of American Literature
One Park Place
Elmira, NY 14901