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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Last Week in Literary History

November 30th, 2002

In 1667, Irish satirist Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels, 1726) is born in Dublin.

American novelist Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1884) is born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Mo., 1835.

Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain, b. November 30, 1667 and 1835, d. 1745 and 1910

swift.png twainbw.pngIt is our contention that Twain was the reincarnation of Swift, shorn of Swift’s neuroses and religious allegiances. If you doubt, read the last section of Gulliver’s Travels and then compare it to Twain’s later writings, especially Huckleberry Finn, Pudd’nhead Wilson, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Swift’s beautiful and moving, if ironic, evocation of the superiority of brute animals over human beings finds its fruition in young Huck’s repeated disillusionings in the face of mankind’s mendacity, in the cruel truths of the American slaveholding days, and in modern man’s dismantling of medieval England in the name of progress. And both Swift and Twain were great masters of clear, provocative English prose, the progenitors of the later wizards Bernard Shaw and H.L. Mencken.

SWIFT
Suggested Reading Fiction A Tale of a Tub, 1704. Gulliver’s Travels, 1726. The Battle of the Books, 1704. Essays An Argument against Abolishing Christianity, 1708. A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People of Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents, 1729. Poetry Cadenus and Vanessa, 1713. Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, Written by Himself, 1739.

TWAIN
Suggested Reading Novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876. The Prince and the Pauper, 1882. The Adventures of Huckeberry Finn, 1884. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, 1889. The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, 1896. Stories The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches, 1867. The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, 1900. Memoirs Roughing It, 1872. Life on the Mississippi, 1883. Mark Twain’s Autobiography, 1924. Travel & Sketches The Innocents Abroad, 1869. A Tramp Abroad, 1880. Following the Equator, 1897.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

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