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Sunday, June 18, 2023

Mark Twain at age 31. 

From the New Libertarian notes interview

CRNLA: What are your favorite novels, movies, TV shows and music?

RAW: The novels would be, I suppose, Ulysses, Finnegans Wake, The Magus by Fowles, The Roots of Heaven by Gary, Don Quixote and anything by Mark Twain. Movies: Intolerance, Broken Blossoms and everything else by David Mark Griffith, Citizen Kane, The Trial, King Kong, 2001. TV: Star Trek and Mary Hartman. Music: Beethoven's Ninth and his late quartets, Bach, Bizet, Carl Orff, Vivaldi, the less popular and more experimental stuff by Stravinsky.

Emphasis mine.

I read a lot of Mark Twain in my youth, including novels and short stories (Letters from the Earth made a big impression on me in my youth.) There is so much about Twain that can be talked about -- his iconoclastic views on religion, his satire, his humor, his important place in American letters. But I can't remember RAW talking about him, even though this interview suggests he read a lot of Twain, too. And it seems to me I don't see much discussion of Twain anywhere. Is there a discussion of Twain in a RAW interview somewhere that I've missed? 


Bobby Campbell said...

A bit of RAW's affection for Twain came out during a discussion I had with him about similarities I found between "The Earth will Shake" & "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" during the Quantum Psychology class.

"No writer ever knows consciously all the influences on his work
but I did know the influence of Portrait of the Artist
on Earth Will Shake

& two others you didn't mention:
Huckleberry Finn by Twain and
Intruder in the Dust by Faulkner

Replace religious bigotry with racism
and you'll see the Mississippi/Napoli parallels"

And then after I confirmed I saw the parallels after re-reading Huckleberry Finn:

"Huck Finn decides that even if hell exists,
he'd rather go there than send Jim back to slavery

the most moving scene in American literature to me;
I can't even write this brief summary of it without tears coming

Siggy makes a similar choice
but I'm not as good a writer as Twain"

Someone on my Dad's side of the family recently did a big expansive genealogy and it turns out I'm very vaguely related to Mark Twain. His 3x grand parents are my 7x grand parents.

I don't put any stock in distant relations like that though, I mean we have 32 3x grand parents, 64 4x grand parents, etc etc, past a certain point everyone might as well be related to everyone else :)))

Prop Anon said...

Yeah, the interview I did with RAW that I just posted has us speaking about Twain at the end of the interview.

Eric Wagner said...

I think on the tapes "Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything (Or Uncle Bob Exposes His Ignorance)" Bob talks about Twain's influence. As I recall Bob said Twain helped him learn how to incorporate his own sense of humor and his own voice into his writing.