25
   

Best writer: Mark (Samuel Clemens) Twain or Jane Austen?

 
 
Debacle
 
  2  
Reply Sat 15 Jun, 2013 07:35 am
@spendius,
Quote:
Jane Austen.

Try Mansfield Park very slowly Deb.


I certainly shall. And very slowly is my normal pace.

Thanks.
0 Replies
 
Debacle
 
  2  
Reply Sat 15 Jun, 2013 08:20 am
@Roberta,
I agree with you about Faulkner.

Quite right, Roboida. Faulkner taught slow reading. His Mississippi air reeks of lethargy, even the flies dawdle.

Yoknapatawpha, thou foster-child of silence and slow time.
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Sat 15 Jun, 2013 09:01 am
@Debacle,
One of the problems today with Jane Austen is that the dynamics of whoredom, which she described so very prettily, has been sanitised and diluted to such a point that denying its very existence is easily accomplished.

She was the Faraday of whoredom dynamics laying out the basic laws. She needed a small social circle for the purpose. And one not driven by any lack of material necessities. But you will notice that she doesn't fail to mention those. The young lad sneaking up to the back door with two empty plates who Mrs Norris sees is sufficient. And there's Mary Crawford's joke about the admirals which Fanny couldn't possibly be indignant about without understanding it. And it was Jane's joke anyway.

Twain can't touch that stuff. He was his own hero. Marking his own exam paper so to speak. Licking his thumb and stroking his lapel with it.

Austen is merciless. No prisoners taken. Not Twain's cup-of-tea at all.
Debacle
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jun, 2013 01:03 pm
@spendius,
My, you make an enticing case for reading Miss Jane. Seems she had an amazing perspicacity for one who, as I understand, seldom crossed her own dooryard. An Emily Dickinson in hoops and prose.

I once crossed her (Jane Austen's) dooryard myself and even snooped through her bedchamber. Bought a nice green leather bookmark with the cottage embossed in gold, which I still use. That was at Chawton one glorious summer's day filled with unexpected pleasures; entering a pleasant wildflower meadow carpeted with fresh cow pats, being ambushed by a massive bull on the gad, chased by an insistent New Forest pony, and escaping total destruction by dashing into a well-placed pub, duds painted in nameless muck, breath in tatters, and bearing numerous scrapes, bumps and contusions. What jolly good crack!

But tell me this (utilising the 'mind's eye' you mentioned elsewhere) what would Jane Austen think, and perhaps she did think, of the merry Widow Wadman? Would the merciless Jane be after considering the widow a woman of loose morals, do you suppose? (My own 'mind's eye' was toggled by recalling that infernal New Forest nag that came within an inch of having my guts for garters, or a bridle at least. Some hobby-horse that bitch or bastid was.)

You will no doubt recall this Shandy passage:

"Now of all the eyes which ever were created - from your own, madam, up to those of Venus herself .... there never was an eye .... so fitted to rob my Uncle Toby of repose as the very eye at which he was looking.

"So she plans her campaign, which is to be much interested in his campaigns, which Uncle Toby is for ever remembering with the aid of big military maps. She leans over him as he sits, and . . . . The world will naturally enter into the reasons of Mrs. Wadman's next stroke of generalship - which was to take my Uncle Toby's tobacco-pipe out of his hand as soon as she possibly could; which, under one pretence or other, but generally that of pointing more distinctly at some redoubt or breastwork in the map, she would effect before my Uncle Toby (poor soul) had well march'd above half a dozen toises with it.

"It obliged my Uncle Toby to make use of his forefinger.

"The difference it made in the attack was this: that in going upon it, as in the first case, with the end of her forefinger against the end of my Uncle Toby's tobacco-pipe, she might have travelled with it, along the lines, from Dan to Beersheba, had my Uncle Toby's lines reached so far, without any effect; for as there was no arterial or vital heat in the end of the tobacco-pipe, it could excite no sentiment - it could neither give fire by pulsation, or receive it by sympathy - 'twas nothing but smoke.

"Whereas, in following my Uncle Toby's forefinger with hers, close through all the little turns and indentings of his works-pressing sometimes against the side of it - then treading upon its nail - then tripping it up - then touching it here - then there, and so on - it set something at least in motion.

"This, though slight skirmishing, and at a distance from the main body, yet drew on the rest; for here, the map usually falling with the back of it close to the side of the sentry-box, my Uncle Toby, in the simplicity of his soul, would lay his hand flat upon it, in order to go on with his explanation; and Mrs. Wadman, by a manoeuvre as quick as thought, would as certainly place hers close beside it; this at once opened a communication, large enough for any sentiment to pass or repass, which a person skill'd in the elementary and practical part of love-making has occasion for."
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Mon 17 Jun, 2013 05:11 am
@Debacle,
I have mentioned Widow Wadman a few times on A2k in passing.

I can't imagine Jane not enjoying Sterne. I have a vague memory from one of the biogs that she had read him. But she did say she didn't trust books by men. I don't blame her for that.

Sterne does invite his reader to picture Widow Wadman with the blank page in Vol VI.

Quote:
Let love therefore be what it will, --
my uncle Toby fell into it.

---- And possibly, gentle reader, with
such a temptation -- so wouldst thou :
For never did thy eyes behold, or thy
concupiscence covet any thing in this
world, more concupiscible than widow
Wadman.


TO conceive this right, -- call for pen
and ink -- here's paper ready to your
hand. ---- Sit down, Sir, paint her to
your own mind ---- as like your mistress
as you can ---- as unlike your wife as
your conscience will let you -- 'tis all
one to me ---- please but your own fancy
in it.































------ Was ever any thing in Nature
so sweet ! -- so exquisite !

---- Then, dear Sir, how could my
uncle Toby resist it ?

Thrice happy book ! thou wilt have
one page, at least, within thy covers,
which MALICE will not blacken, and
which IGNORANCE cannot misrepresent.


What a stroke of wit eh?

But Fanny must have been something eh?

Dare any man say this to a woman--

Quote:
Believe me, I have no pleasure in the world superior to that of contributing to yours. No, I can safely say, I have no pleasure so complete, so unalloyed. It is without a drawback."


unless she is Fanny Price.

Even Bob Dylan warns of it in Heart of Mine.

And yet, a few pages later comes this--

Quote:
He knew his uncle too well to consult him on any matrimonial scheme. The Admiral hated marriage, and thought it never pardonable in a young man of independent fortune.

"When Fanny is known to him," continued Henry, "he will doat on her. She is exactly the woman to do away every prejudice of such a man as the Admiral, for she is exactly such a woman as he thinks does not exist in the world. She is the very impossibility he would describe, if indeed he has now delicacy of language enough to embody his own ideas.


Some editions cut out "she is exactly such a woman as he thinks does not exist in the world". As Rider Haggard hints with the "And yet" after his description of Foulata nursing Captain Good back to health.

Admiral Crawford would snort at the first sentence of Pride and Prejudice. He is a "man of vicious conduct" in Chapter Four.

"Fanny Price" eh. What's in a name?

I am 100% confident that enthusing people to read carefully Jane Austen, and especially Mansfield Park, will never be regretted.

Get the editions with the drawings by Hugh Thomson.

Was Fanny right to reject Henry Crawford?

Debacle
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Jun, 2013 11:25 am
@spendius,
Quote:
Was Fanny right to reject Henry Crawford?


Don't know. Will have to read the book. Which I will and then advise? I 'spect you already have a pretty fair notion.

May have to cross examine Uncle Toby, as well.

Anon.
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Mon 17 Jun, 2013 01:58 pm
@Debacle,
Quote:
I 'spect you already have a pretty fair notion.


I don't actually.

Craw does mean--an animal's stomach, and ford does mean--to get across. And Crawford's country seat is named Everingham. Considering the character given to a Mr Rushworth there is something to think about. Art in particular.

Is there any art in Twain? I read some today and it was dreary. Anybody can put a river in flood in a book and then get knocked up. Juvenile rascality is one thing. And a river is just a river when all's said and done. Handy for washing the detritus out of sight.

Twain lacks magic.
Debacle
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Jun, 2013 06:41 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
Twain lacks magic.


Aye. Just as Walter Raleigh lacked a head.

On the night before he was to face the Lord High Executioner with his snickersnee, Walt had the presence of mind to scribble this:

"And this is mine eternal plea
To Him that made heaven, earth, and sea,
That, since my flesh must die so soon,
And want a head to dine next noon,
Just at the stroke, when my veins start and spread,
Set on my soul an everlasting head!
Then am I ready, like a palmer fit,
To tread those blest paths which before I writ.

Of death and judgment, heaven and hell,
Who oft doth think, must needs die well."


Now there is wit!

0 Replies
 
Debacle
 
  3  
Reply Mon 17 Jun, 2013 09:12 pm
I think I'd rather be amiss (not a miss, mind you, but neglectful) if I didn't point out to the Mark Twain fans that (something they most likely know already, but so what?) there was undeniably one bit of magic (at least magic of a coincidental variety) attached to Twain. Not only was he born in the year (1835) that Halley's Comet made it periodic visit, but in the very month, November. And what's more, Twain died in the same month and year the comet returned again, April, 1910, thus pulling out of Dodge in it's wake.

Those facts form the basis of David Carkeet's 1986 novel, "I Been There Before" (the title being the last line of Huck Finn.) All Twain fans would do themselves a favor if they found and read that book. It is out of print now, but copies are available on Amazon at prices ranging from 1ยข to $30 or so, most of 'em for a coupla bucks.

The idea of the book is that Twain hitches a ride on Halley's Comet when it arrives in 1986. He's conducted around the U.S. to take in the sights and, it's hoped, be impressed with it all: Disney World, NYC, Vegas, etc. However the one thing that truly impresses him occurs quite incidentally when he observes the style of modern authors; he is totally awed that the typical 20th century writer can express more (and do it better) in half a dozen words, even employing incomplete sentences, than the writers of his day, including himself, managed to express in as many sentences, or even full paragraphs.

It's a fine read; excellent prose and good fun. You could do worse for a self-treat.

spendius
 
  0  
Reply Tue 18 Jun, 2013 04:52 am
@Debacle,
Quote:
However the one thing that truly impresses him occurs quite incidentally when he observes the style of modern authors; he is totally awed that the typical 20th century writer can express more (and do it better) in half a dozen words, even employing incomplete sentences, than the writers of his day, including himself, managed to express in as many sentences, or even full paragraphs.


I can't agree with that Deb assuming it isn't tongue in cheek.

What about Melville wishing the ladies would turn down their lamps when at their dressing tables? It reminded me of Poppaea Sabina's gold slippers seen from a worker's point of view.

Who else ever expressed as much in so few words as Melville did with that wish?

And, from my limited exposure to Twain, he didn't attempt to express much.

I entered this thread hoping to be persuaded to a different opinion but the rush to post on the first three pages seems to have been motivated by a desire to establish literary credentials which don't exist.

Once through Mansfield Park is like looking at Disney World, NYC, Vegas, etc. from a seat aboard a passing comet.

spendius
 
  0  
Reply Tue 18 Jun, 2013 04:58 am
@spendius,
Jane Austen wrote, in a letter, "we are to kill a pig tomorrow".

Imagine her coming back and seeing the pork industries of today.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jun, 2013 07:05 am
@spendius,
Despite all protestations to the contrary, and the continuous and tiresome asserted allegations of the fault in others, I am firmly persuaded that a preference for Twain over Austen is a litmus test of bred in the bone misogyny however fancifully disguised.
Debacle
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Jun, 2013 07:10 am
@spendius,
Quote:
And, from my limited exposure to Twain, he didn't attempt to express much.


Perhaps not, but he was very kind to women, at least he never beat his wife with a skillet. He thought highly of the ladies of the land weaving toilet cushions against the last day.

The same cannot be said of Herman, on either point.


Quote:
I can't agree with that Deb assuming it isn't tongue in cheek.


Objection sustained. Tongue in normal alignment, albeit flapping somewhat.


0 Replies
 
Debacle
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Jun, 2013 07:45 am
@spendius,
Quote:
Despite all protestations to the contrary, and the continuous and tiresome asserted allegations of the fault in others, I am firmly persuaded that a preference for Twain over Austen is a litmus test of bred in the bone misogyny however fancifully disguised.


I so do admire your fervour and the pride in your prejudice, but "bred in the bone" I think not. Preference is a matter of taste which is acquired through exposure to an environment and from the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. Thus every man will speak of the fair as his own market has gone in it.

spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jun, 2013 10:50 am
@Debacle,
Quote:
Thus every man will speak of the fair as his own market has gone in it.


Perhaps he will but the fair cannot be expected to take any notice.
Debacle
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jun, 2013 04:37 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
Perhaps he will but the fair cannot be expected to take any notice.


Indubitable.

But then, Sterne, if he were to attend such a fair, would likely be too engaged in ogling the young ladies to be after minding his business. Unless, of course, such was his principal market objective; certainly conceivable.

spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jun, 2013 05:14 pm
@Debacle,
Sterne's "business" is on the first page of his masterpiece.

He had no children. Ogling young ladies is harmless enough in those circumstances and what young lady would object to being ogled except maybe Fanny Price and even that pretty little darling was a bit torn on the subject.

Suppose Fanny wasn't pretty. Or the Bertrams had been Catholic and Edmund heading for the priesthood.

What then?

Can Twain match this from Henry--

Quote:
Perhaps I have as yet no right; but by what other name can I call you? Do you suppose you are ever present to my imagination under any other? No, it is 'Fanny' that I think of all day, and dream of all night. You have given the name such reality of sweetness, that nothing else can now be descriptive of you."


He hadn't the nerve.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jun, 2013 05:25 pm
@Debacle,
http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2012/06/01/irn-bru-fanny-advert-internet-sensation/

I couldn't link the ad but if you Google "Fanny advert" you can see it. Maybe. You can in the UK.
Debacle
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jun, 2013 05:59 pm
@spendius,
No, I dare say he hadn't. Probably the closest he ever came to being the slightest bit suggestive in that regard was when Huck showed up at the old lady's house dressed as a girl. The old gal tossed a ball of wool towards his lap to gauge his reaction, which was to "sling" his knees together (I think "sling" was the term) thus revealing his true gender. I can imagine Twain straining to find a way to explain boys' and girls' respective responses to such stimulus. (Such an explanation from today's writer would be superfluous and silly.)

Twain wrote during the height of Victorian inhibitions; constrained by the times. Even so, his principal works, at the acme of their popularity, were banned by "polite" society, as they were later to be on racial grounds.

I banned them for another reason, or I should say, abandoned them.

Debacle
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jun, 2013 09:59 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
I couldn't link the ad but if you Google "Fanny advert" you can see it. Maybe. You can in the UK.


I found it on YouTube. Funny! Obviously a big hit in the U.K.

Also found this, which is neither funny nor fanny, but rather senseless, at least to me.
It might appeal to one of the diddymen.


0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 05/19/2022 at 06:50:55