You Got Style
· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
January 31, 2005
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· Mark Twain's Speaking-Truth-To-Power Style ·
Its prompt was simple. Twain was suddenly levied taxes in 1887 on his English royalties, and rather than write to the revenue clerk who'd informed him, Edward Bright, he wrote to Queen Victoria instead. You can almost hear the old writer say, "No Taxation without Representation," while presenting himself in a cagey tone of mock familiarity to Her Highness.
As Dr. Ziff says, "[Twain's] was a being that constantly manifested itself in his writings . . . yet was never embodied by them . . . an uncontainable force that could burst forth at any moment regardless of context." That's why, when given his honorary doctorate from Oxford, Twain slyly said, "I like the degree, but I'm crazy about the clothes."
Charming. Perhaps Matthew Arnold's shade might even have said then: "Hereabouts, Sam, it's 'the best that has been thought and said.'"Permalink
That's a great Twain quote, Styles. I have a pretty good one from William Blake today on my blog. In fact, as I wrote my piece tonight, I thought: "This is a Styles' style posting." Whaddaya think?
Should others care to know, just this.
My thanks, John, for your fine post and gracious note.
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