Another country heard from


Over at the Cellar Door, student John Whipple gives his take on Holbrook’s take on Twain, and of my take on Holbrook’s take on Twain:

Much farther than a stones throw away from a Twain scholar myself, I find that Holbrook’s own answer to my question, “how can we regain morality in a society that seems to have lost it?”, gives us an accurate insight into Twain’s thoughts. …  He believes that we have lost an important tradition of “reading good books”, books that make you think, like Huck Finn.  I think by extension what he means is that we have lost the tradition of giving credence to the importance of reflection.  For example, Holbrook deplores how on television news programs, everyone interrupts and talks over one another, each opinion worse than the one before.

Well, that explains the bit about news programs I walked in on.  I think Sontag’s comments give a pretty good take on the role of books in developing a civilized sensibility — much in line with the thinking of her friend, Joseph Brodsky, who always contended that aesthetics is the mother of ethics.

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