from cover of first edition - 1894 American Publishing Company
Mark Twain's lesser known Pudd'nhead Wilson provides an eye-opening picture of race and slavery in the small Mississippi River town of Dawson's Landing, Missouri. It is the story of the mulatto slave, Roxanna, who has swapped her baby son with her master's white baby, hoping for a better life for him. Roxy is considered by many to be one of Twain's best-rendered characters, after Jim and Huck Finn.
The author "is not acquainted with the tale - he listens as it goes along telling itself." He had a hard time with Pudd'nhead "because it changed from a farce (Twins?) to a tragaedy as it went along." It took months to discover his problem with it...there were two stories in one."Without going into Pudd'nhead at all (we'll wait for next week to do that), you might like to read Those Extraordinary Twins...just don't judge Pudd'nhead based on this story! I think we are going to have a lot of fun with this one.
Is reading the Twins a prerequisite to reading/understanding Puddn'head ?
On all counts, Ella, we have a farce on our hands...but what is Mr. Twain "mocking," making sport of here? JoanK, you bring up "stereotypes"...the good and the bad. Did you notice that Luigi is dark, swarthy with a bass voice, while Angelo is the fair, the blond, "good as gold"... the tenor, delicate, "greatly blessed"? (JoanK, forgive me, I've always been fascinated by twins. Always hoped for twins whenever I was pregnant. Will try to restrain from asking you questions...but know that I'm the one who always approached you grinningly in the market or in the park when your mother had the two of you out for a stroll. Lolligagging. Please don't be grouchy, I didn't know I was a bother. So, which one were you, the good or the bad? hahaha, I'm sorry, I am. I won't ask again. Please don't go away)...I was interested in your observation..."I wonder if the good twin/bad twin thing is a recognition that there are two sides to their personality.
1. a humorous play having a highly improbable plot and exaggerated characters
2. a ludicrous empty show - a mockery
EDIT: Nancy - Just missed you - you were posting as I was typing. Wonderful links. I know everyone will be interested in reading of Twain's life-long fascination with twins, right Joan? I plan to read them very carefully as soon as hungry man is satisfied. What a treat, Nancy! Thank you!.<
"Twain makes a mockery of almost everything under the sun: young women, old women, old men, young men, lawyers, doctors, religion, drinkers and non-drinkers, free-thinkers, and the list goes on and on."I particularly enjoyed the Judge, complaining that the jury had made a travesty of the law - when that's exactly what he himself had done! Wasn't that a hoot?
"Tragic plots follow a logical course of action because they strive to build to an inescapable conclusion. Things that happen by mere coincidence can destroy the impact of the tragedy: we must be able to see that the protagonist is responsible for all that happens to him, and if there are coincidences that contribute to the tragic resolution, they are brought about by some action of the protagonist, so they are not really coincidences."
Perhaps "cynical" is too strong a word then, if Samuel Clemens is using his influence as an author to point out human foibles - through humor, which is the best way to do this, isn't it? Not only to point out weaknesses, but to get us to recognize them in ourselves. Recognition of shortcomings is the first step towards doing something about them
The purpose of comedy is that of a social corrective. Comedy provides an example of how we should live our life, and shows what society should be like.
In comedy, as in life, people are mercifully saved from being as wicked as they meant to be
"Ugh, it was awful - just the mere look of that human phillipene."Ginny...maybe that's the duality of human nature...our actions aren't always lined up neatly with what we know is right. Good questions on satire and irony. Let us know what you conclude. I look at satire as a necessary element of farce, but irony, well, that may or may not be present...I think it is present here.
"We should have asked the human phillipene to resign."
Product Description This 1958 variation on Huck Finn's adventures with Jim finds a white convict (Tony Curtis) chained to a black convict (Sidney Poitier) as they both escape their captors. With each man literally stuck with the other, racial conflicts take a back seat to survival. Directed by Stanley Kramer
The satirist is a kind of self-appointed guardian of standards, ideals and truth; of moral as well as aesthetic values. He is a man (female satirists are very rare) who takes it upon himself to correct, censure and ridicule the follies and vices of society and thus to bring contempt and derision upon aberrations from a desirable and civilized norm. Thus satire is a kind of protest, a sublimation and refinement of anger and indignation.
During the 20th century satire has been rare. Two of the main reasons for this lack are that it has been a period of much instability and violent change, and the humor industry has grown to such an extent that the satirist can hardly make himself felt except in the caricature and the cartoon.
Am currently going crazy trying to place Dawson's Landing -- yes, I know it's fiction, but just where might it be? In other words, how many miles south from St. Louis would a steamboat travel in 1830?
Well, yes, we do see all three in Twain's work...sometimes standing alone, often together. It will be fun to point out examples as we go along.
Farce - broad slapstick comedy, (often "absurd", as Chris describes it) - only purpose to amuse, to make the audience laugh
Satire - attempt to correct destructive behavior
Irony - satire in which the writer is saying the opposite of what he truly believes
"to correct, censure and ridicule the follies and vices of society and thus to bring contempt and derision upon aberrations from a desirable and civilized norm. Thus satire is a kind of protest, a sublimation and refinement of anger and indignation.">Chris's description of a more cynical Sam Clemens as he grew older underscores his growing frustration ... Do you think the youngest daughter burned his later, darker works...or will they be unearthed someday...wouldn't that be something?
"During this crucial time in his life, Clemens developed a strong tie to the Mississippi River, along which Hannibal is located. Steamboats landed at the town three times a day, and these river chariots captured Clemens' imagination as he dreamed of one day becoming a steamboat captain."Hannibal, Mo.Oh, I had wanted to get to the Pudd'nhead Calendar comments - and to talk the game of bridge to Hats. But it is so late, I'm turning into bat girl staying up with Jo! You'll be here in the morning, won't you?
"The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) is a detective novel set in the village of Dawson's Landing, another name for Hannibal" ~Dawson's Landing/Hannibal
[Twain places] Dawson's Landing in a different geographical location on the river from St. Petersburg, in Huckleberry Finn, and also from Hannibal, Missouri, the town to which the Clemens family moved with Samuel was four. Critics usually take Dawson's Landing as a recreation of Hannibal, as St. Petersburg certainly is. There is some imaginative truth in this but…by moving the town father south Clemens clearly has a deliberate purpose in mind and seeks—as in the reference to "the dim great world to the North, " (St Louis in chapter 5) to stress the southern-provincial atmosphere of the town. The slaveholding economy and the dominance of the families which have moved from Virginia can be much more stressed; and hence the town has a much more feudal and much less northern air. Hannibal and St. Petersburg are a hundred miles or so north of St. Louis ; but Dawson's Landing, set "half a day's journey, per steamboat" below it, must be between St. Louis and Cairo—which in Huckleberry Finnis the point where real slavery starts. From Cairo south, the states on both sides of the Mississippi (Missouri) and Kentucky) are slave. (Malcolm Bradbury)
"the FFV want respect, and outward show, Did I read that for these FFVs in Missoura, outward show of respect was almost a religion? Twain puts it, "To be a gentleman—a gentleman without stain or blemish—was his only religion, and to it he was always faithful. "
"Adam was but human - this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent."
"was apprenticed as a printer in Hannibal. He was trained as a compositor, or type setter--with the job of setting into type newspaper articles, editorials, advertisements, etc. Following his apprenticeship, he worked for his older brother Orion, who was also a printer and owned a newspaper in Hannibal. When Orion was away, Sam ran the paper, and began writing articles and editorials--some of which caused a ruckus with fellow papers, but increased subscriptions."
Garrison's most famous contribution to the abolitionist movement was his newspaper, TheLiberator. The Liberator was Garrison's vehicle for informing the nation of the evils of slavery and the need for abolition. Garrison was able to make himself heard throughout the nation via the Liberator. Garrison published his paper in Boston because he felt that New England needed the most help and change in public opinion.
Garrison knew, however, that his paper alone would not be enough to reach the whole nation. Even several years after founding the paper, the total number of subscriptions did not total over 500. Achieving a national reputation and spreading his message would take some creativity, and this creativity marked Garrison's success. His course of action was unique but very effective. During this period, many newspapers had exchange programs with other papers where they would send a copy of their paper to another newspaper for a copy of that paper. In this way, a primitive news network was created where editorials and articles from a paper in Boston could be read in a local paper in South Carolina.... Read more about this here: Garrison's Liberator
Herein is probably the first call or use of “all religions” in the defense of a great cause. The use of and a call to value the stated ideals of “all religions” to forward the anti-slavery movement should not be overlooked. Though there are certain and irreconcilable differences among the great religions, they share many noble tenants with respect to rights and with respect to certain values, including the value of religion itself.
About 1828 Garrison met Benjamin Lundy, and the following year joined with him in editing the Genius for Universal Emancipation. Garrison was jailed for libel, bailed out by the philanthropist Arthur Tappan and went to Boston where. With Isaac Knapp, Garrison published the Liberator. Garrison came eventually to be regarded as the leading abolitionist in the country.
To the Public.
In the month of August, I issued proposals for publishing “The Liberator” in Washington City; but the enterprise, though hailed indifferent sections of the country, was palsied by public indifference. Since that time, the removal of the Genius of Universal Emancipation to the Seat of Government has rendered less imperious the establishment of a similar periodical in that quarter.
During my recent tour for the purpose of exciting the minds of the people by a series of discourses on the subject of slavery, every place that I visited gave fresh evidence of the fact, that a greater revolution in public sentiment was to be effected in the free states—and particularly in New England—than at the south. I found contempt more bitter, opposition more active, detraction more relentless, prejudice more stubborn, and apathy more frozen, than among slave owners themselves. Of course, there were individual exceptions to the contrary. This state of things afflicted, but did not dishearten me. I determined, at every hazard, to lift up the standard of emancipation in the eyes of the nation, within sight of Bunker Hill and in the birth place o f liberty. That standard is now unfurled; and long may it float, unhurt by the spoliations of time or the missiles of a desperate foe—yea, till every chain be broken, and every bondman set free! Let Southern oppressors tremble—let their secret abettors tremble—let their Northern apologists tremble—let all the enemies of the persecuted blacks tremble.
I deem the publication of my original Prospectus unnecessary, as it has obtained a wide circulation. The principles therein inculcated will be steadily pursued in this paper, excepting that I shall not array myself as the political partisan of any man. In defending the great cause of human rights, I wish to derive the assistance of all religions and of all parties [emphasis mine].
Assenting to the "self evident truth" maintained in the American Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights—among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population. In Park-Street Church, on the Fourth of July, 1829, in an address on slavery, I unreflectingly assented to the popular but pernicious doctrine of gradual abolition. I seize this opportunity to make a full and unequivocal recantation, and thus publicly to ask pardon of my God, of my country, and of my brethren the poor slaves, for having uttered a sentiment so full of timidity, injustice and absurdity. A similar recantation, from my pen, was published in the Genius of Universal Emancipation at Baltimore, in September, 1829. My conscience is now satisfied.
I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen;--but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.
It is pretended, that I am retarding the cause of emancipation by the coarseness of my invective, and the precipitancy of my measures. The charge is not true. On this question my influence—humble as it is, is felt at this moment to a considerable extent, and shall be felt in coming years-not perniciously, but beneficially—not as a curse, but as a blessing; and posterity will bear testimony that I was right. I desire to thank God, that he enables me to disregard “the fear of man which bringeth a snare,” and to speak his truth in its simplicity and power. . . .
William Lloyd Garrison.
"He had a rich abundance of idle time, but it never hung heavy on his hands, for he interested himself in every new thing that was born into the universe of ideas..."
"One who has rejected authority and dogma, especially in religious thinking, in favor of rational inquiry and speculation."The Universalist and Unitarian religions merged in 1961. Samuel Clemens-Mark Twain belonged to neither. As far as I know he was a member of no religion.
(The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition. copyright 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from INSO Corporation. All rights reserved.)
"Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion –- several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven."To read about Twain's views of religion, click the links below.
"He had a rich abundance of idle time, but it never hung heavy on his hands, for he interested himself in every new thing that was born into the universe of ideas..."And Ella, your comment on the fatal ending of twins - makes me think of Pudd'nheads comment on shooting his half of the dog. When the one twin was hung, the other died as well, didn't he? Anne's comment on Twain's humor ~ "I would say it tells us a whole lot about the townspeople but don't you think it tells us a lot about ourselves too?" Ben Franklin also had this rather unorthodox sense of humor - that told us so much about ourselves too, didn't he, Ella?
" Herein is probably the first call or use of “all religions” in the defense of a great cause. The use of and a call to value the stated ideals of “all religions” to forward the anti-slavery movement should not be overlooked."Jo asks..."Isn't the judge a Freethinker and not a Presbyterian? His wife and sister are the Presbyterians." Here's what Twain said - Pudd'nhead Wilson - First Edition Facsimile - (this link replaces the first electronic version- just for Andy - as it includes the Pudd'nhead Calendar excerpts as well as the illustrations from the first printed edition of the novel) -
"A freethinker is one who doubts or denies religious dogma" (Anne)
"I thought Freethinker meant agnostic or atheist or one who just doesn't give a rap what anyone chooses to believe" Jo
"Freethinker - one that forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority; esp.: one who doubts or denies religious dogma & etc." Webster
" thought a freethinker is the name used to describe Unitarians which I think Sam was a Unitarian or maybe it is a Universalist" Barbara
"One who has rejected authority and dogma, especially in religious thinking, in favor of rational inquiry and speculation." American Heritage
"Selling down the river meant more than harder work. For most it was the difference between being a house slave with the hope of being treated relatively well, and working in the cotton field whereslaves were literally worked to death. It was a death sentance."As we listen to Roxy's voice in Chapter II, I'm wondering what you thought of her speech? Twain seems to have studied speech patterns as Pudd'nhead studied fingerprints. We'll have to ask Chris about this. In the meantime, you might find it helpful to read Twain's comments on the dialog he used in Huck Finn...
"Just like the Mississippi River, seemingly smooth, but below the surface were hundreds of snags waiting to tear the bottom out of a steamboat." ... and "I think we need to watch out--not everything is as it may appear." ...and "Humor must not professedly teach, and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever. By forever, I mean thirty years....I have always preached. That is the reason that I have lasted thirty years." Samuel Clemens, 1902"> ...and "But I have a had a 'call' to literature, of a low order--i.e., humorous. It is nothing to be proud of, but it is my strongest suit."
...and "I think Sam was a preacher throughout his life, and it might be safe to say his writings are his sermons. "
...it's really very easy to write The Sopranos, because everything that everybody says is untrue. Complete falsehoods, self-justifications, rationalizations, outright lies, fantasies and miscommunications. For that reason, I think there's always sort of a joke going on, which is that these people aren't communicating at all. These people are kidding themselves, and lying to themselves and to each other all the time.
"He often studied his records, examining them and poring over them with absorbing interest until far into the night; but what he found there - if he found anything - he revealed to no one."
Wilson took the fingerprints, labelled them with the names and with the date--October the first--put them carefully away and continued his chat with Roxy who seemed very anxious that he should admire the great advance in flesh and beauty which the babies had made since he took their finger-prints a month before. He complimented their improvement to her contentment...He discovered nothing.
"saying words which would not go well with a halo if he had one"
the cat was off on three legs to meet an engagement.
she swam in sunset seas of glory"
Nature/Nurture ~Ella - "Could Tom's atrocious behavior be partly due to nature (genetics) rather than nurture?"
We'd been talking so much about the effects of his environment that made Tom the person he was...genetics hadn't really been part of the discussion.
~ Scrawler - "I think it depends on the personality of the child whether they become overbearing or meek and docile."
~ Jo - "Roxy’s scheme is Chambers’ inborn tendency to be a real brat and an imperious master while Tom conducts himself with patience, courage and a natural power that Chambers lacks." Jo, it appears
we, I have been overlooking the fact that "Twain was aware of nature and nurture, the two forces that determine our individual destinies." Maybe this is the reason I sometimes confuse the dual messages I'm getting from him? Things are not always as they appear to be on the surface because the genetic heritage, the nature of the beast is not always observable?
JoanK - about your theory on Twain's use of comedy ..."I think the whites of that day were afraid of the slaves getting their freedom, and also afraid to see the slaves as human beings who were suffering. By portraying them as comic characters who were still inferior, Twain made the situation seem less threatening." I'd like to hear from Chris on this point too - and to hear more about the impact of this story on his readership at this time.
Hats, Barbara, Roxy is "Isolated" and so is Chambers-who-is-Tom. The measure used by the collective brain of the townsfolks has isolated Pudd'nhead in much the same way. And Tom-who-is Chambers is isolated from his own "mammy" - the townsfolk - his peers - the Judge "loves" him only when he is not at home!!!
Oh yes, Hats, "I think Mark Twain is saying that slavery was a cruel and unusual system that could never have been remedied." To me it's strange that so many people accepted it as the norm at this time?
Maryal - "Roxy identifies with those in power over her while at the same time being their natural enemy. The part of her that identifies just loves the secret she has that those black people are being fooled into cowtowing to her very own son. She isn't bothered by his behavior toward his own people because she has brought him up as the young white Master and he is filling this position." This helps understand the position in which Roxy found herself.
Gail - "She saw herself sink from the sublime height of motherhood to the somber depths of unmodified slavery....she was his chattel, his convenience, his dog, his cringing and helpless slave"...MT's description of Roxy's role here as a "cringing dog" doesn't jive with my stereotyped understanding of the relationship that I thought existed between the slave, the nanny, the 'mammy' who raised a young master, or mistress. I'd always thought there was...a life-long tenderness between them because of that important early relationship. (Lots of stereotyping and superstitions need to be reexamined.)
Scrawler, I DO think " Twain was being ironic not only about the Negroes but also about all of us in regards to "superstitions" - there's a close link between superstition and stereotyping come to think of it!)
Are you sure MT uses the names Roxy and Roxana interchangeabley, Gail? I had a notion - but never followed up on it...thanks for answering that one. I was wondering if different people called her by a different name - other slaves might have called her Roxy, would her masters have called her the familiar "Roxy" or more formal, "Roxana"? I thought Twain might have referred to her with some respect and called her "Roxana"...
I'm still interested in your thoughts on his use of dialog... would it have helped had MT never let Roxy/Roxanna speak throughout the story - or if he did include dialogue - should he have written it without the dialect?
Back in a minute with a bit more on that Calendar...
>Elijah was a Prophet, and he worked very hard and long for God. When it came time for him to go to Heaven, God told him to get Elisha to replace him.
Now, Elisha was young and strong. When Elijah found him, he was in the field plowing with twelve horses. He was eager to go to work for God. He promised Elijah he would be faithful and stand by him.
Elijah said "What wish shall I give you before I am taken away?" "Please give me twice as much prophet-power as you have," Elisha answered. Elijah said "That's a lot to give, but if God will let you see me leave for Heaven then the wish will be granted."
Suddenly, as they were walking along talking, a chariot of fire-drawn by horses of fire-appeared, and Elijah was carried off by a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha saw it all, and knew he would be a great and powerful Prophet of God.
He picked up Elijah's coat, and started off to work. As he walked along, a gang of young boys from the city began mocking him, and making fun of his bald head. Two she bears came out of the woods and killed forty-two of them: God protected Elisha.
"On his death bed Driscoll set Roxy free…"
The setting free of slaves (manumission), particularly on the death of the owner, were common. There were 319,000 free Negroes in the United states by 1830. But legislation began to make manumission more difficult as free Negroes seemed to be an increasing social problem; and some states required Negroes to leave the state on being freed. More, freedom was relative. Many states prohibited the entry of free Negroes; rights of assembly were often curtailed and rights of suffrage almost never granted; other prohibitive laws could make it virtually impossible for freed slaves to make a living. (Malcolm Bradbury)
Jasper calls her "Roxy".It appears that Twain makes use of the name, "Roxana" only when the voice of the narrator is Roxy. She is the only one who thinks of herself as "Roxana"...This is a subtle touch, isn't it? It appears to be deliberate. He is not using the two names interchangeably after all...
Percy Driscoll called her "Roxy".
Pudd'nhead calls her "Roxy".
Twain calls her "Roxy" when he is the narrator describing her.
She is "Roxana" when she named her baby, Valet de Chambre.
She is "Roxana" when she worries about the stolen money and being sold down the river.
Elijah's successor is Elisha, as Tom is Judge Driscoll's heir. The bad news was that Tom's own father died and his fortune was worthless, the good news, Tom will be Judge Driscoll's heir and now he will be even richer than before.You loved the quote on cabbage and cauliflower? Are you really asking what it means? My translation - cauliflower, a more highly developed vegetable - fancier, more complex, (more expensive too) than the lowly head of cabbage. The dandified Tom just back from the east with gloves and cane and airs (and education?) is the same cabbage-head that left town two years before. The townspeople pick up on that right away. Notice they are not impressed at his new- found manners, but look at how they respond to those TWINS! Barbara observes it is not just education or fine clothes that impresses the townspeople...and wonders - "maybe it is the novelty of having visited or lived in a place only read about in books?" What do YOU think?
I imagine those are the "special providences" of the Calendar entry. A gang came out of the woods and taunted Elisha...for one reason or another - because he was bald. Two she-wolves came out of the woods and protected Elisha. That would be Chambers. Twain has it that Chambers (the she-wolves) was better off than Eiisha/Tom because he got the boys' admiration and respect.
"Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker wil be sorry."
"Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down-stairs a step at a time."
...she had little education, but a knowledge of men and motives that seem to have come by instinct. Far beyond the common woman was she endowed with intrepid rashness, with a love for the pursuit of adventure to the brink of danger, and with desire for the pleasures of life. Her spirit was one to chafe under any curb; she was Eve after the fall, but before the bitterness of it was felt.
"Adam was but human -- this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent: then he would have eaten the serpent."
"Whoever has lived long enough to find out what life is, knows how deep a debt of gratitude we owe to Adam, the first great benefactor of our race. He brought death into the world."
"Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principal one was, that they escaped teething."
From The Courant, June 29, 1888. -You help us see another side of this man - the sensitive boy, the passionate, romantic husband, the engaged papa. I checked out the Memory Game...quite a production. His children would learn their British history in an enjoyable way. Apparently he created this game right after Huck Finn...
At the age of 53 Twain was awarded an honorary degree of Master of Arts by Yale. He wrote this acceptance letter, in which he defends his work, the work of "funny men," as worthy of respect. Honorary Master of Arts
"Both Howells and Clemens were made doctors of letters by Yale that year and went over in October to receive their degrees. It was Mark Twain’s second Yale degree, and it was the highest rank that an American institution of learning could confer." Twain/Yale
"It also came with a small pamphlet of historical facts, mainly the reigns of European monarchs but American Presidents do make the last page, and a packet of straight pins, half of them cheaply painted black. One played the game by pushing the pins directly into the board" Mark Twain's Memory GameI did search a bit and couldn't find a sample of the questions, but did find something that may interest you... a game loosely based on MT's, but focusing on "Mark Twain and His Times - might be fun to test our memory when we are through here.
"I think some people felt that slaves should be emancipated gradually. Is this quote about a slow process of emancipation for the slaves? Is it about the time it takes for a small town to grip change?Barbara - a good question on moving slowly "down' the steps. Don't know...but thinking about what Chris said yesterday about how the institution of slavery was preached from the pulpit - maybe that message needs to come "down" from the pulpit before folks start to accept that it is morally wrong.
My question is still about the Judge...what is he selling???
Anne - good question - why would a "cheap Berlin museum" be interested in these musical prodigies?
* Rowena's eyes afire, nostrils flaring...she's got these marvelous twins under her own roof - the rest of the town is envious of her. She's revelling in the glory. What will her most ardent admirer think of this situation when he comes back to town. I laughed at your thumping heart for Johnny Depp, Anne. Still laughing!
Twins' childhood experience - and new found celebrity..."it's better to learn how to use that entitlement as you would a habit "coaxed down-stairs a step at a time".
Anne - on why the townspeople were impressed with the twins, but not Tom's new look when he returned from Yale..." the twins were trained as performers and probably knew how to display themselves as if theatre actors having experienced a little star power - where all Tom had was the back east sophisticated dress, speach and learning that made him different rather than a star - to be admired for your difference it appears you need to know how to sell yourself
"I think we can see Twain clearly saying it's not inferiority or a lack of worth but a planned attitude on the part of the slave to survive"Barbara... "Roxy is taking care of herself and teaching her son that he has an obligation to take care of his mother but it feels too much like extortion - that she has no real feelings for him only a need that will be satisfied by using him to secure her old age. Her relationship seems to become coherts in getting the money that will take care of Roxy and maybe his debts."
"Mark Twain is giving a true portrayal of the south because everything is not wrapped up in a nice, sweet package... I think Mark Twain is trying to stick to the facts whether the facts are painful or not painful. It is hard to accept the fact that slaves had to deceive in order to save the life of themselves and their children... It is hard to accept that not all masters were compassionate."So we'll try not to make generalities and to consider closely the individuals Mark Twain has presented here...at the same time let's keep in mind that he was a man of his times...he witnessed the scenes we only see in movies...and he is attempting to generalize to make point.
"The heir of two centuries of unatoned insult and outrage looked down on him and seemed to drink in deep draughts of satisfaction."
"Is there a message in this scene? Is this the way that Twain saw slavery in his day", you ask?
First Families of Virginia
Rachel and Ginny both commented on the names..."old country names... brimming with the pride that their status gave them" - they would be British names; they were the first British families to settle in Virginia. The question remains - WHY did these families, so proud of their Virginia roots, move from their land to Dawson's Landing, Missouri? Chris has related that John Clemens was also a Virginian (but not FFV) ..."who always maintained his pride and bearing as a Virginian gentleman--a man from the Old Domninian, a legacy to the family"--he had moved to Missouri for economic reasons. Was this the reason these FFV families moved here too?
Irony - Tom stealing from the white families in Dawson's Landing
Ella - Tom needed money, and yes the white families were the only ones to steal from - but did he HAVE to steal? I'm going to say something that is probably heresy to Twainiacs, and I'd love to have any of you say I'm wrong - and explain why. It seems to me that Twain is saying here, that the negroes felt justified to pilfer from the white masters and still maintain clear consciences because of the circumstances which had cast them into dire situations. But Tom? By including us, the readers in the secret that Tom is a slave (even 1/32 percent negro), isn't he putting Tom into the same category with the other pilfering slaves? What I'm asking - even inadvertantly, isn't Twain blaming Tom's negro blood for his behavior? I know that under it all, he's saying that when one's back is against the wall, no matter the color of his skin, any man will be guilty of the same behavior. Ella has pointed out, neither the slaves nor Tom have any motivation in life. But would the honorable Judge or any of his own blood who treasure integrity and honor be guilty of such behavior?
Haunted house - Superstition
Hats makes the connection between the haunted house and superstition - and Pudd'nhead. Roxy carried that horseshoe whenever she went near Pudd'nhead. She feared his "glasses" - (I think she was referring to the glass plates he used for fingerprints, rather than eyeglasses)...Scrawler quotes the passage in which we learn that the haunted house is just 300 yards from Pudd'nhead's house. Yet here she is, spending her nights in the dark empty house. Roxy and Tom are "haunted" outcasts, now in the same deserted area where Pudd'nhead (another outcast?) lives..three "lonely" spirits as as Hats descibed them.
Hats - Blackmail is one word for what Roxy is doing...and how about "extortion"? Of course she would like Tom to be in a position to help her out now that she has NO means of support, but basically, she is trying to keep her boy in line for the inheritance. In other words, she is trying to protect his future, the same as she was the day she switched him with the real heir, don't you think?
Would Tom have killed Roxy?
That's an interesting point, Scrawler...what would have happened if he had? Would he ever be prosecuted for killing a black woman? Roxy is pretty confident that he won't...she knows the likes of him - he might shoot her in the back, but not bludgeon her with that wooden plank. "As parents, do we really know our children that much?" I think so, I really do. I can hear myself say of one of my boys, "he wouln't hurt a
fleafly." I know no matter how desperate, he wouldn't inflict pain on anyone.
Coal and prehistoric toads
Anne asked yesterday about the meaning of the calendar entry, "It is easy to find fault, if one has that disposition. There was once a man who, not being able to find any other fault with his coal, complained that there were too many prehistoric toads in it."
From what I was able to find, coal was an important in Twain's time...for fuel and more -"In the 19th century coal was used as a material to make buttons, spoons, plates, dishes, snuff boxes, inkwells, candlesticks - and even statues and church floors.."The 1822 Crystal Palace Park Exhibition in Sydenham, London made scientific headlines - geologists discovered fossils of prehistoric reptiles in coal...which changed long held views on dinosaurs' evolution. I am guessing that Twain knew of this discovery. If a man is an habitual complainer...even if fortunate enough to have sufficient coal, he'll find something to complain about. Is this Calendar entry referring to Tom and his gambling?
"A gigantic lump of coal was the most prominent item on display at the great exhibition of 1851, which was held at the Crystal Palace." Facts on Coal
I thought that was interesting.
A complicated joke to succeed in a town where irony "was not for these people"? [sic] It means a nut with two kernels, and comes through into "Philippene" Bartlett (Dict. Amer.) comments:There is a custom common in the Northern States at dinner or evening parties when almonds or other nuts are eaten, to reserve such as are double or contain two kernels, which are called fillipeens. If found by a lady, she gives one of the kernels to a gentlemen, when both eat their respective kernels. When the parties again meet, each strives to be the first to exclaim, Fillipeen! For by so doing he or she is entitled to a present from the other.
Tom's new "moral landscape"
The news that Tom is not the person he thought he was (white FFV gentleman) has sent him reeling, hasn't it? Considering the times, this is BIG! Scrawler brings us the passage in which Twain compares the effects on Tom's "moral landscape" to th impact of the Krakatoa Earthquake The link describes the far-reaching effects of the quake - which took place in 1883. Yes, Anne - Twain does have a way of making his points...AND he's showing us with the earthquake example (as with the prehistoric fossils-in-coal discovery) that he is also very much aware of what is going on in the world outside of Hannibal, Mo.
"Some of his low places he found lifted to ideals, some of his ideals had sunk to the valleys," Anne, I agree...we "go through our lives never feeling what another is feeling" - Do you think that this could be a fresh start for Tom? Presuming his secret is safe, and he does become "Marster, one might hope he has a new outlook regarding the slaves...
Barbara, I checked the Curse of Ham which Tom bemoans...the link explains that Ham was the son of Noah who is to blame for the "black-skinned" peoples of the earth. This reference to Genesis shows that Twain was a Bible-reader, not necessarily with any knowledge of DNA...
BUT Scrawler points out that Tom gradually reverted to his old ways...and soon it was impossible "to detect anything that differentiated him from the weak and careless Tom of other days." Oh, Ginny, yes! "Tom's almost ridiculous pendulum swinging from his normal self to his black self and finally his normal self again" does show the worthlessness of stereotyping. It's when Twain writes like this that you have to believe he really was "an unusual man of his times"...as Chris pointed out a while back. I think Twain is demonstrating an understanding of the psychological make up of both the slave and the whites during his time. Doesn't it make you wonder if there were many others who felt as he did? We need to separate the setting of the story, the 1880's from the post-Civil War period in which the book was written. I'm wondering how folks felt about the slavery system back in the 1830's.
"In a recent book on German life and manners, entitled "A Bout with the Burschens, or, Heidelberg in 1844," is an account of the existence of this custom in Germany, which at the same time furnishes us with the etymology of the word:In addition to Ginny's footnote, then, it would appear that by calling him a "fillipeen" - then Luigi would be expected to reply - and put in context, Luigi did what he thought custom demanded. Tom's "present" was a kick in the pants. When we were reading Extraordinary Twins, it seemed the term was an insult to the conjoined twins. Do you get the feeling that the separate twins, Luigi and Angelo are being severely dissed by Tom in this instance? Does the whole episode tie into the rum party/teetotaler conflict? (Thanks Barb, for checking this out.) It sounds like a "hot issue" in the 1830's... Do you think the kick merited a lawsuit?
Among the queer customs and habits of Germany, there is one which struck me as being particularly original, and which I should recommend to the consideration of turf-men in England ; who might, perhaps, find it nearly as good a way of getting rid of their spare cash as backing horses that have been made safe to lose, and prize fighters who have never intended to fight. It is a species of betting, and is accomplished thus: Each of two persons eats one of the kernels of a nut or almond which is double. The first of the two who, after so doing, takes anything fiom the hand of the other, without saving Ich denke, 'I think,' has to make the other a present, of a value which is sometimes previously determined, and sometimes left to the generosity of the loser. The presents are called Vielliebchens, and are usually trifles of a few florins value; a pipe, riding-whip, or such like.">
I thought several things were interesting here - Noah was drunk - passed out, naked and his young (?) son witnessed him in his disgraceful condition - notice how the other sons who covered him up did so backwards so "they saw not their father's nakedness." When Noah "woke up from his wine" and realized that his son had seen him, he put a curse on his son Canaan - "a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." It sounds to me as if he has disinherited Ham and his son for having dishonored him. I'm wondering if we are reading something into the message about skin color when all Twain meant to do was include the curse of disinheritance and servitude here. What do you think? It is true that when the tribes multiplied and divided, the sons of Canaan found themselves in North Africa among other places, but can we passage we seem to have all the themes touched upon in this chapter...drink, honor, inheritance, servitude. Remarkable, really.
005:032 And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
009:018 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
009:019 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
009:020 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
009:021 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
009:022 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
009:023 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
009:024 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
009:025 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
009:026 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
009:027 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
010:015 And Canaan begat Sidon his first born, and Heth,
010:016 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,
010:017 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,
010:018 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.
010:019 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.
"Why were niggers and whites made? What crime did the uncreated first nigger commit that the curse of birth was decreed for him? And why is this awful difference made between white and black?"
"There was a strong rum party and a strong anti-rum party..."
Twain builds into his recreation of Missouri society here a significant passing reference to reform activity in the south. Temperance and eventually prohibition were growingly important matters in American progressivism and such matters in some ways brought southerners and northerners closer together. Maine passed the first state-wide prohibition law in 1846, and by 1855 twelve states and the Minnesota Territory had followed suit.
The title, and the rhetoric twain uses, seem ironically conceived, since the original Sons of Liberty were secret organizations formed in the summer of 1765 to oppose the Stamp Act; they later led armed resistance against British soldiers, and in New York dumped tea into the harbor. But since some of the Southern temperance supporters were called Sons of Temperance, the title has an analogical significance.Thought that was interesting, there's a lot here, huh?
RICHARD ALLEN - 1760-1831 Richard Allen, the founder and first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church,
was born a slave on February 14, 1760 on the Benjamin Chew estate. Deeply religious from an early, age, Allen was converted at the age of 17. He began preaching in 1780 and was ordained in 1799. Through thrift and industry, he and his brother worked at night to pay for their freedom.
Despite his lack of formal medical training, Allen was a noted "Bleeder", the equivalent of our present day surgeons. Dr. Benjamin Rush, a leading physician of the time and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, gave praise to Bishop Allen for his services during the Black Plague in 1793 which took the lives of thousands of Philadelphians.
In 1791 Allen established what was known as the Blacksmith Shop Meeting House when he purchased an abandoned blacksmith shop foreman named Sims and moved it to a plot of ground on 6th Street between Lombard and Pine Streets. This building was dedicated as a church in 1794 by Bishop Francis A. Asbury of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
From July 1805, Allen conducted services in the "Roughcast Church". This had been the first brick church erected on American soil by people of color. The African Methodist Episcopal denomination was organized in Philadelphia in 1816. Richard Allen was consecrated as its first Bishop at the General Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 10, 1816. In 1841 the red brick church was built to replace the old roughcast one, and remained in use until the present church (dedicated in 1890) was erected in its place on the original plot of ground.
Allen was an organizer of the Free African Society, a group that fostered self-help and self-dependence. He established day and night schools, and was co-organizer of the first Masonic Lodge among colored men in Pennsylvania, African Lodge 459 in Philadelphia.
From 1797 to his death on March 26, 1831, Allen operated a station on the Underground Railway for escaping slaves. This work was continued by Bethel Church until the Emancipation.
Carry me back to old Virginny,
There's where the cotton and the corn and tatoes grow,
There's where the birds warble sweet in the springtime,
There's where the old darke'ys heart am long'd to go,
There's where I labored so hard for old massa,
Day after day in the field of yellow corn,
No place on earth do I love more sincerely
Than old Virginny, the state where I was born.
Carry me back to old Virginny,
There's where the cotton and the c
orn and tatoes grow,
There's where the birds warble sweet in the springtime,
There's where this old darkey's heart am long'd to go.
Carry me back to old Virginny,
There let me live 'till I wither and decay,
Long by the old Dismal Swamp have I wandered,
There's where this old darke'ys life will pass away.
Massa and missis have long gone before me,
Soon we will meet on that bright and golden shore,
There we'll be happy and free from all sorrow,
There's where we'll meet and we'll never part no more.
Composed by James Bland
"Most religious groups had their origin in some theological, doctrinal, or ideological dispute or concern. But the A.M.E. Church originated as a protest against the inhumane treatment which the helpless people of African descent were forced to accept from the white people belonging to the St. George Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelpha, Pennsylvania. This fact says to us that the organization of the A.M.E. Church was the result of racial discrimination rather than of any theological or doctrinal concern."
"Like many early American customs, dueling was imported. Starting in the Middle Ages, European nobles had defended their honor in man-to-man battles. An early version of dueling was known as "judicial combat," so called because God allegedly judged the man in the right and let him win. In an era known for its bloody encounters, judicial combats probably prevented men from killing in the heat of passion."Don't miss the example in the code..."if one fellow calls another "impertinent" a duel can be avoided with an apology.
" In 1777, a group of Irishmen codified dueling practices in a document called the Code Duello. The Code contained 26 specific rules outlining all aspects of the duel, from the time of day during which challenges could be received to the number of shots or wounds required for satisfaction of honor. An Americanized version of the Code, written by South Carolina Governor John Lyde Wilson, appeared in 1838. Prior to that, Americans made do with European rules.
In a typical duel, each party acted through a second. The seconds' duty, above all, was to try to reconcile the parties without violence. An offended party sent a challenge through his second. If the recipient apologized, the matter usually ended. If he elected to fight, the recipient chose the weapons and the time and place of the encounter. Up until combat began, apologies could be given and the duel stopped. After combat began, it could be stopped at any point after honor had been satisfied." Dueling in America
Perhaps that is what the twins represent: the dichotomy in society, the duality in human nature, the conflicts that result? Slavery seemed a practical means to an end, but it served man on one level and destroyed him (both sides of the “bargain”) in another. We struggle within ourselves and with others all of our lives, and society struggles to find a golden mean that simultaneously honors the humanity of everyone and ensures group survival. Some have vested interests in systems that may threaten the survival, prosperity and dignity of others, and because we are aware of the conflicts we keep trying to find ways to satisfy our deepest convictions and our material needs at the same time. The twins were polarized in their opinions on several matters, but in both versions Twain clearly intends for us to see how much they care about each other. Maybe the struggles of society are as permanent to our human condition as our daily internal struggles and our self-love.
a kindly courtesy does at least save one's feelings, even if it is not professing to stand for a welcome.
"Starting in the Middle Ages, European nobles had defended their honor in man-to-man battles. An early version of dueling was known as "judicial combat," so called because God allegedly judged the man in the right and let him win"I guess God didn't deem either party in the right here (or the wrong). Don't you think it would have turned out differently had God punished the dishonorable "assassin" Luigi would have fallen then? The Judge never questions this. I'm thinking that this may be Twain's irony at work.
"She had christened her own child "Valet de Chambre -- no surname. Slaves hadn't the privilege." That is some more news to us who owned them, and who keep lively memories of their pride in their surnames.
I guess we're the sheep Martha is talking about - unless you find yourself agreeing with her...do you?And it is a melancholy fact that the sheep instinct of humanity is so strong as to make it follow en masse into any pasture of opinion where he (Twain) may lead.After seeing Ella's question on the magazine, I just HAD to look it up and see if it was in fact a national publication. Did New York count as "national" if you lived in the South?
Century Magazine/once ScribnersWhile Harper’s Magazine may well claim to be the pioneer among high-class illustrated magazines in America, it was not spurred to its greatest exertions until the appearance of Scribner’s Monthly in 1870. The rivalry between these two magazines, and later the triangular rivalry engaged in by Harper’s, the Century, and Scribner’s Magazine, has led to great improvements in the art of engraving and in the technique of printing illustrations.
After the death of Charles Scribner differences arose between the management and the publishing firm of Charles Scribner’s Sons, which resulted in the withdrawal of the Scribner interests and a change of name to The Century Magazine in 1881.
The change of name brought no radical change in scope or policy, and Scribner’s Monthly and the Century constitute virtually an unbroken series from 1870 to the present time.
The Century has always given much space to illustrated articles on history. There was something a trifle “journalistic” in a series of articles on the Civil War by Northern and Southern generals, yet even in these the editorial control was such as to insure a reasonable standard of excellence. The Life of Lincoln by Nicolay and Hay, large parts of which appeared serially in the Century, was of higher grade.
Chris of Mark Twain House noted that he had the first installment of the serialized Pudd'nhead Wilson story - there were 7 installments altogether and he assumed that three chapters were serialized each month. (It appears that 8 had appeared in the first two, if Martha was correct).
Such good stuff here today...need to put the groceries away and come back!
But it is a toiling, thinking, determined nation, this of ours, and little given to dreaming. It appreciates the fact that the moment one thing is ended, it must be crossed out and dropped, and something else begun. Our Alexanders do not sit down and cry because there are no more worlds to conquer, but snatch off their coats and fall to shinning around and raising corn and cotton, and improving sewing machines.Gosh he's powerful, thank you so much for that link!
...a compound of gooseberries, scalded and crushed, with cream, commonly called a "gooseberry fool"...PuddingheadToday I spent some time at the Folger Shakespeare Library. It was fun seeing so many of the folks I used to work with. One of my buddies, Officer Cheney asked me what my "book club" was reading these days...and I told him, Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson'...Mr. Cheney's wife loves to read and belongs to a book club and he always liked to tell her about books we were reading on-line. "Mark Twain," he said, "I'll have to remember that. With a name like Pudd'nhead, I assume he's black, right?" "Well, no..." Mr. Cheney is black himself, and I thought his assumption was interesting. I wish we had had more time to talk about it. I'm going back on Thursday. If I get a chance, I'll ask him why. Was this more of Mark Twain's irony - giving an educated white man, a lawyer from the east, a name which another black man assumed was "black"? Had you ever heard this term used before?
Barbara - "the reason Twain did that was to hit folks over the head hard - that to get their attention he had to repeat the worst of it over and over in quick succession in order to capture their attention so he could allow the hammer to fall. - "Twain KNEW that we DO NOT EVEN SEE OR KNOW OF OUR OWN RACIST PREJUDICE" - This accounts for the number of times the pejorative is used in this story, Barbara. Did it make you wince too?
Scrawler - "Judge Driscoll... poured out rivers of ridicule upon them, and forced the big mass-meeting to laugh and applaud... At last he stopped and stood still. He waited until the place had become absolutely silent and expectant, then he delivered the deadliest shot...Spoken like a true politician or lawyer or judge" - Anne, I'll agree with you on politicians and lawyers, but am resisting applying such behavior to judges. Expect more, I guess.
A fascinating observation, Anne - "Twain seems to point to these "edifying cultural, social, and political pursuits in his story. Was Twain sending a message to his readers?" I'm not sure, but Tom does seem to be spending time entertaining himself, knowing that his own mother is "down, NOT up the river"...maybe such forms of entertainment were necessary to get one's mind off harsh realities.
I gasped and then laughed at Tom's preposterous comment about Roxy's motherly insticts - coming back to St. Louis, knowing she'd get him in trouble. Why did she risk coming back?
...the guilt lay with the erroneous inventory. Everybody saw there was reason in this. Everybody granted that if "Tom" were white and free it would be unquestionably right to punish him— it would be no loss to anybody; but to shut up a valuable slave for life—that was quite another matter….
Tom - what motivates Tom? There are two Tom's. Some of you have found sympathy in your hearts for his position . There's Tom the heir-apparent wastrel, and then there's the desperate "slave" Tom who would do anything to hold on to that which is not his. Neither Tom is "honorable" - never has been Twain paints him as a "bad" child, a "vicious" child from the time he was two years old. He doesn't change, or grow from there, does he Anne? No "field of honor" for this young man...Rachel, interesting information on the other side of Sam Clemens, the father...touching really. He was quite concerned with appearances, and what others might think of his Clara..."be conspicuous for not being conspicuous; let no canon of perfect breeding suffer by you." Concerned her "breeding" - her upbringing would be questioned. "If you would not have yourself and us talked about..." Sam Clemens and outspoken Mark Twain are two different characters, aren't they?
Roxana - Maryal, we do get "closer" to Roxana. We understand her motivation for what she did. But was it "honorable", Twain seems to be asking? Pudd'nhead characterizes the person who switched the babies as "selfish" - do you agree with that? Jo,Roxana's motivation was to change her son's life, yes, but she was willing to sacrifice "honor" to do that, wasn't she? When the Judge dies, Tom becomes the master...Roxana knows the evil and heartlessness that is in this boy of hers. Yet, she lets him go on playing the role, knowing full well that Chambers is down in the kitchen, still a slave. How could she do this? Why would she do this? Simply to survive? She's living this lie for a measely $35 per month?
Jo, do you see the moment in the courtroom when Roxana drops to her knees and calls herself a "misable sinner" as the realization that her act was the cause of the Judge's death? This is indeed a tragedy. But Twain didn't choose to call his story "The Tragedy of Roxana the slave." I'm looking for the reason why he focused on Pudd'n for the title role?.
Pudd'nhead Wilson - Pudd'nhead is such a sketchy character to me. WE don't get close to him. Maryal, does Twain focus much attention on this character? We read in these chapters that he's been fighting prejudice for years - I take that to mean that he's fighting those who have dismissed him as an "airhead" - well, as a "pudd'nhead". Is that how you saw that line? Yet he CHANGES at the end, he comes forth as brilliant, doesn't he? One with a true understanding of human nature- justice - and honor?
Surely he dropped the ball when delivering Luigi's challenge. Why didn't he go ahead and tell his friend the details of Luigi's incident with Angelo's attacker? Why was he silent? I understand that he doesn't feel he can talk to the Judge about his "doll, his baby" - but he didn't have to mention Tom at all, did he? As soon as the Judge referred to Luigi as an "assassin"...Pudd'nhead could have told him what happened years before. Where are the two free-talkin FREETHINKERS in this scenes?
Fingerprints by Francis Galton. - a British scientist and a cousin of Charles Darwin whose main interest was in heredity. He coined the term "eugenics." At several points in Finger Prints he discusses his subject in the context of race and class, although he acknowledges that the data will not support his "great expectations" -- that fingerprints would display racial differences. After reading Galton's book, MT enthusiastically decided to feature fingerprints in the storyYou make an interesting comment on the term "tragedy," Ginny - maybe Rachel can shed some light on this...the title seems to no longer include the words, "The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson" as Twain wrote it...my edition is simply titled, "PUdd'nhead Wilson" - when did it change? Did Sam Clemens change it? But, let's say there is a "tragedy" here. Of course that would be racial prejudice and Sam Clemens has made a strong statement, cloaked in Mark Twain's irony. I can see where folks of the 1890's may have missed the point...just as the folks in Dawson's didn't "get" Pudd'nhead's Calendar entries.
Pudd'nhead Wilson is MT's most direct and sustained imaginative engagement with the issues of slavery and race, but although it has never been controversial in the way Huck Finn is, there is no critical consensus about whether the novel is racist or anti-racist, about what the novel is saying or implying about race."
A lawyer could enter evidence - fingerprints - that prove his client did NOT commit the murder. THe prosecutor would jump up and object, request time to examine the evidence, where the prints were taken, by whom, under what circumstances. The judge would agree and procedings would come to a halt. Pembroke Howard was silent in this case, (maybe because he knew all about who had made the prints) and so Wilson was free to continue.
Today, Wilson would be allowed to testify, but NOT while representing Luigi. Couldn't be the defense attorney and a witness in the same trial.<.blockquote>
Really thought there would be some reaction to the Fingerprints by Frances Galton information...you didn't find it interesting? Ho, hum??? I was dumbfounded when I read it - this was the SOURCE of Clemens information on fingerprints that he used for this book! Galton (Charles Darwin's cousin) had wanted to prove that fingerprints could indicate racial differences...he failed, but did you read the rest of the article? Let me requote the paragraph from the link.Francis Galton. - a British scientist and a cousin of Charles Darwin whose main interest was in heredity. He coined the term "eugenics." At several points in Finger Prints he discusses his subject in the context of race and class, although he acknowledges that the data will not support his "great expectations" -- that fingerprints would display racial differences. After reading Galton's book, MT enthusiastically decided to feature fingerprints in the story."
"Pudd'nhead Wilson is MT's most direct and sustained imaginative engagement with the issues of slavery and race, but although it has never been controversial in the way Huck Finn is, there is no critical consensus about whether the novel is racist or anti-racist, about what the novel is saying or implying about race."
Pudd'nhead Wilson is MT's most direct and sustained imaginative engagement with the issues of slavery and race. there is no critical consensus about whether the novel is racist or anti-racist, about what the novel is saying or implying about race."
"In the twelth chapter we come to a branch of the subject of which I had great expectations, that have been falsified, namely, their use in indicating Race and Temperament. I thought that any hereditary peculiarities would almost of necessity vary in different races, and that so fundamental and enduring a feature as the finger markings must in some way be correlated with temperament." Link within Finger PrintsSam Clemens was quite taken with Galton's study and incorporated fingerprints into his revision of Extraordinary Twins - "When Wilson uses fingerprint evidence in the courtroom to prove Tom and Chambers' "true" identities, however, he is in a sense using them to establish race." Finger Prints - Francis Galton
But I digress - shall we go back to the courtroom? One of my questions that was never answered satisfactorily - why does Aunt Patsy Cooper remain so solidly in the twins' corner? Where is Rowena? Does the presence of one and the absence of the other convey a message?
[In the manuscript of Pudd'nhead Wilson, in what is now Chapter 10, MT included five paragraphs in which Tom, having just learned from Roxy that he is "black" and a slave, tries to understand his self on the basis of his racial ancestry. MT deleted the passage when he was making his last revisions of the manuscript. It reflects Tom's own thoughts, confused and inconclusive, not the narrator's, but if MT had included it in the novel he would have strengthed any case the novel might be making against the idea that "blackness" was an inferior racial heredity. (The manuscript is in The Morgan Library.)] In his broodings in the solitudes, he searched himself for the reasons of certain things, & in toil & pain he worked out the answers:
Why was he a coward? It was the "nigger" in him. The nigger blood? Yes, the nigger blood degraded from original courage to cowardice by decades & generations of insult & outrage inflicted in circumstances which forbade reprisals, & made mute & meek endurance the only refuge & defence.
Whence came that in him which was high, & whence that which was base? That which was high came from either blood, & was the monopoly of neither color; but that which was base was the white blood in him debased by the brutalizing effects of a long-drawn heredity of slave-owning, with the habit of abuse which the possession of irresponsible power always creates & perpetuates, by a law of human nature. So he argued. Passage Twain Deleted from Chapter 10 of PUdd'nhead Wilson"
In Chapter Two MT's narrator says Roxy's race is "a fiction of law and custom." When Wilson uses fingerprint evidence in the courtroom to prove Tom and Chambers' "true" identities, however, he is in a sense using them to establish race.
"the irony of fatalistic tragedy, in which Tom becomes himself a victim of his situation, " and "a comedy of moral chaos," and an "infallible, post-Darwinian determinism." that finally locates Tom, a species of knowledge that comes not out of the world of the book but from the late-nineteenth-century fatalism of vision that Twain develops in the course of telling his story. It is environment that makes man, and because of this he has a final identity the one that Pudd'nhead makes public and meaningful in the courtroom scene at the end."
irony in the human condition so great that none of the characters can be fully aware of it. Fate overshadows character, and itself works by paradox.
So the irony here for his reader is it's difficult to rise to the heights necessary that Twain wants the reader TO rise to in order to understand the story: one thing for sure, it's not just a little slapped out pastiche.
Maryal, I keep forgetting to say you are 100 percent correct in the Baltimore Catechism, and one of the questions was Who Made You? Because THAT forms the basis of the joke, I now recall, thank you for that!
In 1862 Clemens became a reporter on the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, Nev., and in 1863 began signing his articles with the pseudonym "Mark Twain," a Mississippi River phrase meaning two fathoms deep -"When the leadsman's line sank to the two--fathom knot, meaning the boat had a safe twelve feet of water beneath it, he called out, "By the mark, twain!"We know he was a riverman before he became a reported. The Daily Alta in California published one version of how he settled on the name. Remember the Daily Alta published his travel accounts of Innocents Abroad at this time? (I'm still enjoying this, thanks to Fai's suggestion!)The Daily Alta California published a Comstock version:Twain denied this story and explained the source of the name choice in the following letter in reply to the published letter above. Sam Clemens on "Mark Twain"
"We knew Clemens in the early days and know exactly how he came to be dubbed "Mark Twain." John Piper's saloon on B street used to be the grand rendezvous for all the Virginia City Bohemians. Piper conducted a cash business and refused to keep any books. As a special favor, however, he would occasionally chalk down drinks to the boys, on the wall back of the bar. Sam Clemens, when localizing for the Enterprise, always had an account, with the balance against him, on Piper's wall. Clemens was by no means a Coal Oil Tommy--he drank for the pure and unadulterated love of the ardent. Most of his drinking was conducted in singlehanded contests, but occasionally he would invite Dan De Quille, Charley Parker, Bob Lowery, or Al Doten, never more than one of them, however, at a time, and whenever he did, his invariable parting injunction to Piper was to "Mark Twain," meaning two chalkmarks, of course.Dear Sir:
~Mark Twain was the nom de plume of one Captain Isaiah Sellers, who used to write river news over it for the New Orleans Picayune. He died in 1869 and as he could no longer need that signature, I laid violent hands upon it without asking permission of the proprietor's remains. That is the history of the nom de plume I bear.
"A person who is ignorant of legal matters is always liable to make mistakes when he tries to photograph a court scene with his pen; and so I was not willing to let the law chapters in this book go to press without first subjecting them to rigid and exhausting revision and correction by a trained barrister--if that is what they are called. These chapters are right, now, in every detail, for they were rewritten under the immediate eye of William Hicks, who studied law part of a while in southwest Missouri thirty-five years ago and then came over here to Florence for his health
He was a little rusty on his law, but he rubbed up for this book, and those two or three legal chapters are right and straight, now. He told me so himself".
"I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. All I care to know is that a man is a human being, and that is enough for me; he can't be any worse." (Mark Twain)Or how about this one - (scarey, isn't it?)
"I am the entire human race compacted together. I have found that there is no ingredient of the race which I do not possess in either a small way or a large way." (Mark Twain