Mark Twain plays a central role in the history of American humor and humor studies. And since I am teaching Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for the first time currently, this week’s productination will be mostly Mark Twain.
Mark Twain achieved scale, with the gusty breadth astir in the country as the Pacific was reached. Huckleberry Finn belongs within the scope of that epical impulse which had taken shape in the ’50’s : it has indeed a cumulative epical power as its main story branches off in innumerable directions under the stress of an opulent improvisation. In this book Mark Twain gave to the great flood of the Mis sissippi its elementary place in the American experience, with the river as a dominating fantasy, with the small human figures as prototypes of those untethered wanderers who had appeared so often on the popular horizon.
–Constance Rourke, American Humor: A Study in the National Character (1931)
What made Mark Twain so funny? one answer: cannabis
And a happy birthday to Amy Poehler. If you don’t watch Parks and Recreation, you should catch up in preparation for the new season.