Monday, October 17

Mark Twain

The latest on my reading list has been Mark Twain's Humorous Stories and Sketches. The title does not lie; they are truly humorous. Yes, some are more so than others-for example, today I was reading Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences. I was literally cracking up, which is not something that I sincerely do often.
At least not over a book, and especially not over a book that might happen to be on my lesson plan for my daily literature lesson.
Having read all of Cooper's mistakes, it kind of makes me want to read the bemoaned Deerslayer tale. And thus, for my dear readers' benefit, I am posting all of the rules that made me all giggly-wiggly.
I hope and pray that you may never violate any of these rules and see James Fenimore Cooper as a true example of a literary felon.
And just in case you haven't figured it out yet, this is a joke, so please don't get angry at me for criticizing a great author. Now read on!

  • That a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the "Deerslayer" tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in air.
  • They require that the episodes in a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help to develop it. But as the "Deerslayer" tale is not a tale, and accomplishes nothing and arrives nowhere, the episodes have no rightful place in the work, since there was nothing for them to develop.
  • They require that the personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others. But this detail has often been overlooked in the "Deerslayer" tale.
  • They require that the personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there. But this detail also has been overlooked in the "Deerslayer" tale.
  • They require that when a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven- dollar Friendship's Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a negro minstrel in the end of it. But this rule is flung down and danced upon in the "Deerslayer" tale.
  • They require that crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader as "the craft of the woodsman, the delicate art of the forest," by either the author or the people in the tale. But this rule is persistently violated in the "Deerslayer" tale.
  • They require that the personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable. But these rules are not respected in the "Deerslayer" tale.
  • They require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of the "Deerslayer" tale dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah Me =)18/10/11 7:42 PM

    OMG! Now I want to read the story, just to see what you are talking about! :)