„Mark Twain is far more at odds with the values of his society than Stendhal, Baudelaire or Flaubert, and yet he is far more a part of it.“

—  Kenneth Rexroth, Classics Revisited (1968), Context: Huckleberry Finn sets the tone and pattern for hundreds of American novels after it. No other civilization in history has been so totally rejected by its literary artists. Mark Twain is far more at odds with the values of his society than Stendhal, Baudelaire or Flaubert, and yet he is far more a part of it. In many ways he was the typical educated — self-educated, usually — American male of his day. He was also enormously successful, one of the most popular American writers who has ever lived. Significantly, his hack work was less popular than Huckleberry, and even his blackest, bitterest books sold very well — and still do. Perhaps the typical American male is secretly far less the optimist than he would have the world believe; but the lies he rejects and myths he believes are still those whose contradictions tortured Mark Twain. Mark Twain: Huckleberry Finn (p. 206)
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Kenneth Rexroth
1905 - 1982

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