I think I may have found my critical credo from Thomas Jefferson.
Reading some of his works, I spotted his notion that the study
of theory is as useful as studying women's fashions:
they are fleeting and transitiory.  He advocated studing
the thing itself instead.  Amen.
Which aroused my curiosity: Tom Paine is oft cited as an influence
on Messr. Clemens, and Pacal Covici traced the literary line from Franklin
to Twain.  But I can't think of anyone discussing possible influences
of the far more symatic Jefferson on our author.
Any thots on the subject?
wes britton