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My favorite Author is surely Mark Twain. It is simply astounding to me how fresh and relevant his comments are -- though written in the latter part of the 19th century -- to todays problems and issues.

In particular, he writes extensively on Education and routinely quotes essays from 8th and 9th grade students, where the student makes humorous statements - obviously inadvertantly. Whats strikes ME though is what a huge knowledge students of this age were expected to have in Twains Time! Surely no college student would have this level of knowledge currently.

Also -- Twain is often accused of being racist because he used slang of the time and in particular words like the N word. Twain by the way was virtually the first author to write in a modern style. Prior to Twain, works were written largely for the educated classes - and slang or dialects were unheard of. This charge is so absurd. Frankly in several of Twains letters, he states he prefers the company of blacks he knows to most whites. And in Huckleberry Finn, as an example, Twain highlights the moral dilemma faced by Huck vis-a-vis Jim the escaped slave. Huck knows that helping Jim escape capture is surely going to send him to Hell (violating both the law and the social mores of the time), and his conclusion is that -- well then he's going to hell! Hardly the additude of racist now -- let alone then when it was much more defensible - and more chic to be so. The intelligensia of the time were exemplified by John Calhoun who said 'show me a nigger who can parse a greek verb - and I'll admit he's a human being' -- a rather absurd catch-22 when you punish or kill blacks for the crime of seeking an education! A reading of Twain shows him (IMHO) to be utterly intolerant of fools and vapid thinkers and he routinely skewers the self-important and the haughty! But he also questioned -- extensively -- the 'conventional wisdom' of the time. Read Twains 'The War Prayer' and you will find an utterly eloquent damnation of war and militarism in general -- written at the time of the Civil War when hundreds of thousands on both sides marched off robotically to the slaughter. What a Waste!

Anyway, I'll post more thoughts about Twain and I've posted some of my favorite quotes (and I'll be adding some passages too).

Another Site about Mark Twain.

Shakespeare. Visit this site for plays online!