I don't think he read it. I automatically suspect anyone who cites both Brooks and Fiedler as authoritative critics. Furthermore, if he claims that only "5 per cent of the material in it is new" and that it "has been edited and published three times before," then he is crediting Paine and Neider, in particular, as reliable editors, which is further proof of his lack of insight. And as one reads on, this lack becomes even more evident. I offer just two examples: Gopnik claims that the Autobiography is "a disjointed and largely baffling bore" and that "scarcely a single sentence in the whole thousand pages stands out to be admired." (emphasis added in order to point out that he missed the total number of pages, including the index which is 736.) For these and many other reasons, I don't think he read it.
I am waiting for the issue that takes him on in the Letters to the Editor.
Did you know that we are part of the Mark Twain industry?
--- On Sat, 11/27/10, Harold Bush <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
From: Harold Bush <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Twain in New Yorker
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Saturday, November 27, 2010, 11:51 AM
apologies if this is already posted somewhere; but there is a scathing
article about the AUTOBIOGRAPHY in the latest NEW YORKER. I'm not sure it
will rate with the notorious Jane Smiley piece of several years ago, but it
may be close, at least in the spirit of its deeply antagonistic attitude
about my adoptive state's favorite son. OUCH!
a much shoter e-version of this screed is vailable at:
All kidding aside, I'd be interested in hearing others' views of this bitter
piece. Also: I think this author --one Adam Gopnik-- claims that about 95%
the new AUTOB. has already been published in the 3 earlier versions --is
this true, did I miss that somewhere??
On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 10:07 AM, Ron Owens <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> This morning's (Sat. 11-27) NY Times has an interesting, brief
> editorial on Twain's autobiography. "Mark Twain's Big Book" or this
> -- Ron O. in Elmira
Harold K. Bush, Ph.D
Professor of English
Saint Louis University
St. Louis, MO 63108
314-977-3616 (w); 314-771-6795 (h)