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Gregg Camfield <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 29 Mar 1996 14:57:41 -0500
text/plain (24 lines)
_Connecticut Yankee_ is a very spirited condemnation of virtually
everything, but I'm interested in the kind of spirit.  After all, the way
"Mark Twain" persuades Hank Morgan to tell his tale is to ply him with
Scotch -- "I also comforted him with a hot Scotch whisky; gave him
another; then still another--hoping always for his story.  After a fourth
persuader, he drifted into it himself, in a quite simple and natural way."

It has always seemed to me that delirium tremens explains much of the
mess that is _CY_.  Granted, Twain often prefaces his stories with a
warning that the contents might be spirited, as when he says at the
beginning of _Roughing It_ that "the tighter I get, the more I leak
wisdom," but the order of delirium in _Yankee_ is much higher.  Is Hank
that much tighter?

Anyway, the relevance of all of this to our conversation is that Hank
is something of a picaro in that he is an alcoholic bum who trashes the
aristocracy from the gutter. But, to return to another question raised
here awhile back, as a demented man, Hank spins a yarn that is neither
realistic nor naturalistic.  Yet obviously Twain had a substantial
intellectual and moral investment in this book.  Why, then, the frame's
suggestion that Hank is a drunk?

Gregg Camfield

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