Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Juvenilia, part three, in which Mark Twains' publisher and I are of the same mind

When I spoke the argument presented in this paper during a meeting of poet Donald Junkins' American Realism course, in the fall of 1983 at UMass, he said he respected my opinion, and that he didn't agree with it. I could not have cared less if he only respected my opinion. The only thing that mattered was that I was right and he was wrong to disagree with me. The ``Raftsmen Passage'' was so delightful that it should have been included in ``The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,'' Junkins said. Or words to that effect. Of course now, having matured, I respect his disagreement, but I still think my 22-year-old self was right.
That was a great class. We read Henry James, ``The Ambassadors;'' Sarah Orne Jewett, ``The Country Of The Pointed Furs;'' stories by Ambrose Bierce; William Dean Howells, ``The Rise Of Silas Lapham;'' Theodore Dreiser, ``An American Tragedy;'' and Stephen Crane, ``The Red Badge Of Courage.'' There might have been other works on the syllabus, but I don't remember.
As of today, Junkins, who lives in Deerfield, is still listed in Superpages.

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