Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Roberts on Twain on Cooper (it's not pretty)

Heavily line edited pages from the bookWe just received Kenneth Roberts's copy of a book of essays by Mark Twain. We have Kenneth Roberts's library and a collection of his papers, so this is the perfect place for the book. The treat, though, is not the association, but what Roberts did to the book. Apparently he took offense at Mark Twain's essay "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses." It is not clear if Roberts approved of Cooper's style, but it is pretty obvious he had some troubles with Twain's prose. Roberts dissects Twain's essay in a kind of rabid attack on the text with pencil in hand. He offers line edits to nearly every sentence to clean up Twain's style and deletes whole swaths of the essay.

Two pages showiing text marked for deletion
The book came to us through the generosity of Joel Shimberg who bought it back in 1967 and has taken care of it for the past 50 years. We are so happy it has landed here, reunited with Roberts's library and open for research use. We haven't cataloged it yet, but we will put up a link to it when it is ready.

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