“Classic - a book which people praise and don't read.” - Mark Twain
Due to technical difficulties, I am unable to post the guest blog from Elizabeth Grace Saunders. My apologies to you all and to Elizabeth. I will be posting her article as soon as I can get the glitches worked out.
So today I thought I’d share an article I read on The Happiness Project, “Ten hilarious tips for writing from Mark Twain." Twain obviously didn’t care for fellow writer Fenimore Cooper, author or The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans.
According to Twain:
Cooper's art has some defects. In one place in "Deerslayer," and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record.
There are nineteen rules governing literary art in domain of romantic fiction -- some say twenty-two. In "Deerslayer," Cooper violated eighteen of them.
Some of the requirements are:
That a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the "Deerslayer" tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in air.
They require that the personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there. But this detail also has been overlooked in the "Deerslayer" tale.
Say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.
Use the right word, not its second cousin.
Read The Happiness Project for more on this essay or read the entire essay for examples of "…Cooper's high talent for inaccurate observation…”
Would Mark Twain’s review have kept you from reading Fenimore Cooper’s work?
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: Mark Twain, Fenimore Cooper, Deerslayer, Last of the Mohicans, Elizabeth Saunders,