Monday, March 21, 2011

The “CENSORSHIP BY ANY OTHER NAME” SERIES, No. 2, Susan Gillman and Forrest G. Robinson

Gillman and Robinson's Mark Twain's PUDD'NHEAD WILSON: Race, Conflict, and Culture (1990) goes in two of my series, here and in the Death-Grasp of the New Criticism.

In STUDIES IN AMERICAN FICTION 23.2 (Autumn 1995) Priscilla Wald defines this collection: "The essays respond to Hershel Parker's assessment of Pudd'nhead Wilson as an 'unreadable' text. They are unified by their efforts to make sense out of what has conventionally been read as incoherence." The State of California had paid for a March 1987 interdisciplinary conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz, from which 'this collection of essays emerged." I was not invited to the conference and neither my article on Pudd'nhead Wilson in RESOURCES FOR AMERICAN LITERARY STUDY nor its shorter version in FLAWED TEXTS AND VERBAL ICONS was reprinted in the collection, published by Duke University Press. Therefore no reader would know what "the painstaking research of Hershel Parker" amounted to, even though several of the essays are written in response to it; other essayists go blithely along oblivious to any recent scholarship that might possibly impinge on their hermetic critical endeavors.

Like Pizer's collection on THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, this collection leaves out the one essay that inspired that Rite of Spring celebration, held, I am more or less reliably informed, in the Elfin Grove at Santa Cruz.

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