Friday, March 6, 2020

Lousy with Literary Distinction & Poetry

Marked up title page and flyleaf
Oh goodness, we have once before blogged an instance of author Kenneth Roberts expressing his disdain for a bit of literature in his epic take down of one of Mark Twain's essays, but this week we learned of another moment of vitriol in the margins. This time it is directed at the best seller by Walter Edmonds, Drums Along the Mohawk. To say Roberts hated it is being too gentle.

Marked up Author's Statement
He had been asked by the Atlantic Monthly to review the book, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Instead, he kept his comments private, within his copy of the book. To start, he re-titled his copy "Bums along the Mohawk," then he offered up a fake blurb by the popular critic and selector for the Book-of-the-Month Club,  Dorothy Canfield Fisher: "Lousy with literary distinction & poetry." As evidence he cites the sentence, "Large squashy flakes of snow, falling steadily, made it hard for him to see what the soldiers were hauling west from the fort into the woods."

Snide comment on misspelling of "rely"
But his dark sarcasm is best expressed in a note pointing out a small typo. In the "Author's Statement." After boasting of his deep research, Edmonds states "Naturally, for spaces of time, no data were available, and there I had to relie on my own knowledge of our climate." Roberts circled the misspelled "relie" then caustically added, "Not a bad way to spell it, under the circumstances."

To take a look come in and ask for Roberts Library PZ3 E242 Dr copy 3.

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