And when I began teaching at Western Reserve Academy in the fall of 2001, I started teaching Huck Finn every year--and I started, as well, traveling to every Twain-related site I could think of and reading all the Twain titles I'd neglected over the years. One by one I read them--Roughing It and Life on the Mississippi and A Tramp Abroad and Following the Equator and on and on. Here's a complete list of his works (scroll down a bit to find it): Works of Mark Twain
Just yesterday I finished Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), and this morning I started his (much shorter!) What Is Man? (1906) I have only a few remaining from that long list. And then what? Well ... lots of other writers out there ... lots of other books ... I'll just start on someone else.
So what accounts for this? How can the author of Huck Finn write such drivel as you find in Tom Sawyer Detective? What are the possible reasons? And what, if anything, does it mean ... and what, if anything, does it matter?
I'm going to deal with writers whose works I know--their best, their worst. So (I'm not sure of the order yet) look for some thoughts about Robert Frost, Edgar Poe, William Shakespeare, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Melville, Jack London ... maybe some others. I'll wait to see if I'm bored while I'm doing it.