Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Diaries of Adam and Eve

A recent thrift store find was a lovely edition THE DIARIES OF ADAM AND EVE AS TRANSLATED BY MARKTWAIN, which has beautiful wood cuts by Michael Mojher. I've added the picture of the cover large so that some deatils of the illustration can be seen. I haven't read anything of Twain's for quite a while and I had forgotten his voice; and while it now sounds a little antique to me, it's still charming and delightful. There is no doubt he deserves to retain his reputation as our greatest humorist. Of course he was much more than a humorist just as TOM SAWYER is more than a boy's book and HUCKLEBERRY FINN is one of our wonderful classics.

The forward has a note that, tongue in cheek, Twain proposed building a monumnt to Adam and was surprised when he was taken seriously. He found himself petitioning Congress for a monument. He explained: Mr. Darwin's "Descent of Man" had been in print five or six years, and the storm of indignation raised by it was still raging in pulpits and periodicals. ... Mr. Darwin has left Adam out altogether. ... I said there was a likelihood that the world would discard Adam and accept the monkey, and that in the course of time Adam's very name would be forgotten in the earth; therefore this calamity ought to be averted; a monument would accomplish this....

The only surprising thing in this matter is that the monument did not get built. However we still have this book and I spent a couple hours his afternoon smiling at Twain's portrait of Eve as the scientific but sensitive one and Adam as lazy and loutish. It had been a busy, busy, even multi-tasking day -- this wonderful weather inspires me to get all the odds and ends done, or at least in hand. But I was running out of steam about 3:00 in the afternoon so I went to Starbucks for a cappuccino taking Twain along and then came on home to finish reading it just as a mighty thunderclap rolled over the city. It's so easy to forget the "classic" writers from Homer right on to and through Twain are classic because they're just plain wonderful to spend time with. Any reader thinking aboug summer reading -- think classics.

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