>Twain, Tolstoy and Austen, Oh My!


The literature world is abuzz with news. Mark Twain’s autobiography is finally going to be released after 100 years of waiting. I’ve been reading a lot of his pithy one-liners: “Adverbs are the enemy of the verb;” “Travel is fatal to prejudice” and admiring them for their brevity and truth. Hemingway greatly admired the man, and said that “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. “ Twain’s style was without verbosity and decoration, which is why I’m unsettled by the half million words in the soon to be three volumes of the manuscript published by the University of California. I was so excited to read it, but now, knowing that it’s longer than War and Peace, I’m neutral.

Speaking of War and Peace, I’ve reached the 1,000 page mark! And Tolstoy also died exactly 100 years ago today. Rest his soul.

And in other literary news, Jane Austen, who was supposed to have turned out finished masterpieces, was actually found to have had an editor. Gasp! It doesn’t diminish her status as a great writer, though; it seems most of the edits were spelling, and punctuation. The editor also said you can use some more speech tags (he said, she said, which Austen famously omitted, noting that she didn’t write for “dull elves”). How post postmodern of her.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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