Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain
Quick post on this one:
In the Venn diagram of "international travel," "American author," and "humor," not many titles fall in the cumulative overlap. Yet because I like to think I might have a claim to all three at times, I wanted to read a book during this build-up to moving to Ireland to which I could relate, or which I could at least appreciate.
So I picked up the old copy of The Innocents Abroad that's been sitting on some shelf or another for over five years now, ever since I bought it at a book market in London, and gave it a go.
Whatever a writer's own inclinations, reading Mark Twain is an educational experience. His prose is an exemplar of intellectual vernacular, of sentences as involved and complex as any Victorian yet which are as easily understood as the speech of a dear friend.
I feel confident having his voice echoing in my mind as I embark on this new adventure abroad. His skills and influence cannot but strengthen my own writing.
(Though reader be warned: apparently, some copies of The Innocents Abroad don't include the full text. They are filled with promises of reaching the Holy Land, only to cut you off somewhere in the Mediterranean without so much as an indication that you've been cruising through Volume 1 of some indeterminate number of volumes. Not that I'm bitter or anything. At least it's not Mark's fault.)