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By Harold Bloom

-- Brings jointly the easiest feedback at the most generally learn poets, novelists, and playwrights -- provides advanced severe pix of the main influential writers within the English-speaking global -- from the English medievalists to modern writers

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It is also in complex ways a justification, even a self-justification. Its fixed universe, with an endless chain of cause and effect from the beginning of time, permits Mark to compose many variations on the theme of human pettiness, but also it serves to free man of blame—and thus satisfies a need deeply buried in Mark’s personal remorse. To this period also belongs Mark Twain’s Autobiography, which serves him as an escape into the security of the boyhood idyl he had made immortal in Tom Sawyer. The need to escape is significant, but the release is even more so, for it breaks the obsession signified by What Is Man?

He is wholly a social being. When there is a secret band to be formed, it is Tom who organizes it and prescribes the rules. Huck Finn is alone: there is no more solitary character in fiction. The fact that he has a father only emphasizes his loneliness; and he views his father with a terrifying detachment. So we come to see Huck himself in the end as one of the permanent symbolic figures of fiction; not unworthy to take a place with Ulysses, Faust, Don Introduction to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 35 Quixote, Don Juan, Hamlet and other great discoveries that man has made about himself.

Of his novels only Joan of Arc, The Prince and the Pauper, and Tom Sawyer have structures that have developed from within; significantly, all are simple and only one is first-rate. Mark lived with his material for a long time, sometimes for many years, but not consciously, not with critical or searching dissatisfaction. A book must come of its own momentum from the unconscious impulse, be it as a whole, as a fragment, or as something that hardly got started before it broke off. This is to say that he had no conscious esthetic.

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