Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Roughing It (1). Mark Twain.

New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1872 (1984).

Why read it? Twain records a journey from St. Louis across the plains to Nevada, a visit to the Mormons, and life and adventures in Virginia City, San Francisco, and the Sandwich Islands. Filled with tall tales, vivid descriptions, narratives of adventure and character sketches.

Sample Ideas and Quotes:

“Pretty soon he [Twain’s brother] would be hundreds and hundreds of miles away on the great plains and deserts, and among the mountains of the far west, and would see buffaloes and Indians, and prairie dogs, and antelopes, and have all kinds of adventures, and maybe get hanged or scalped, and have ever such a fine time, and write home and tell us all about it, and be a hero.” p. 541.

“Our coach was a great swinging and swaying stage, of the most sumptuous description—an imposing cradle on wheels.” p. 545.

“…dislocated grammar and decomposed pronunciation….” p. 546.

“…camp-fire…around which the most impossible reminiscences sound plausible, instructive, and profoundly entertaining.” p. 551.

“Every time we avalanched from one end of the stage to the other, the unabridged dictionary would come too; and every time it came it damaged somebody.” p. 554.

“But don’t you know that the very thing a man dreads is the thing that always happens?” p. 572.

Pony Express: “…kept him at his utmost speed for ten miles, and then, as he came crashing up to the station where stood two men holding fast a fresh, impatient steed, the transfer of rider and mailbag was made in the twinkling of an eye, and away flew the eager pair and were out of sight before the spectator could get hardly the ghost of a look.” p. 575.

To be continued.

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