>(And, please, I didn't include the Brooks quote to renew an 80-year-old debate >on the Forum. It's safe to assume that the vast majority of Forum members >disagree with Brooks' analysis.) > I do disagree, but I think there's some value in "The Ordeal of Mark Twain" anyway. To my knowledge, Brooks was the first critic to pick up on some key contradictions in Twain's character -- his stance as a rebel but his desire for the approval of the establishment, for instance. Brooks' explanation of these things has been pretty generally debunked by now, I assume, but I think he deserves some credit for pointing these things out. To a degree, his book determined the course of much Twain scholarship for the next 50 years or thereabouts. Sometimes an erroneous hypothesis can still lead to productive work, and I think Brooks qualifies. -- Bob G.