Mark Twain

Kids in Defense of the Culture

The shock troops against Conservatism, Inc. have arrived. Witness the rise of the groypers. These cowboys sent people ducking beneath barstools the moment they set a spurred boot in the Culture War saloon. It has been amusing, to say the least, but not everyone is laughing. Some have even warned that the pale rider of [...]

Thanksgiving and the Tall Tale

"Thanksgiving Day. Let all give humble, hearty, and sincere thanks, now, but the turkeys."   ~ Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar Thankfully, much good fiction is not only read but also heard, as all families who have talkative, excitative elders know well. It is a phenomenon summed up in the proverbial marvel of strictly-spoken tales [...]

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain

We do a necessary disservice to children when we explain to them the difference between the land of Fancy and the Real World. It is necessary because there is a difference, practically speaking. Yet, it is a disservice, because it is not true, really speaking. In the land of Fancy, the sun shines every day [...]

Being Nice and Being Good in Tom Sawyer

As the saying goes, children can be “naughty or nice,” but naughty does not always mean bad and nice does not always mean good. One can also be “nice” but not good, and one can be good while sometimes naughty. A world of difference separates the merely nice from the truly good. No one explains [...]

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain: The Savage Noble

Nothing conjures up summer quite like a bully, sure-’nough treasure: A kite, a dead rat and a string to swing it with, twelve marbles, part of a jew’s harp, a piece of blue bottle-glass to look through, a spool-cannon, a key that doesn’t unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, a glass stopper of a decanter, [...]

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: Two Views

Sean Fitzpatrick: This novel has no motive, no moral, and no plot—at least you won’t catch me attempting to find any lest I be prosecuted, banished, or shot. But even without these traditional literary elements, it is a masterpiece. The one thing I would dare apply to it is a theme, which I hope to [...]

Embracing My Inner Lovecraft

The LA Times' Jacket Copy blog  -- tagline "Books, Authors and All Things Bookish" -- recently alerted me  to one of the most enjoyable "quickie time-waster websites" I've found in quite some time: I Write Like. Based on "a Bayesian classifier" -- the programming backbone for a number of ordinary, run-of-the-mill spam filters -- the website is disarmingly [...]

Not your average celebrity tell-all…

You have to hand it to the guy -- after 100 years, Mark Twain still knows how to grab headlines: Exactly a century after rumours of his death turned out to be entirely accurate, one of Mark Twain's dying wishes is at last coming true: an extensive, outspoken and revelatory autobiography which he devoted the [...]

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