July 30, 2015

Appropriation, Mark Twain Style

Via @ArsScripta 

Andrew Newman, Stony Brook University, and Brandi So (PhD, Stony Brook, University) have published “It Couldn’t Be Robbery To Steal That”: Artistic Appropriation and Twain's "Jumping Frog."  at 42 College Literature 396 (Summer 2015). Here is the abstract. 

In “The Private History of the ‘Jumping Frog’ Story” (1894), Mark Twain prefaces his account of the provenance of the famous story that launched his career with two anecdotes about artistic theft. Rereading the “Jumping Frog” in light of these anecdotes and the theory of originality Twain espouses in the “Private History,” this essay disputes the widespread interpretation that credits the internal, vernacular narrator, Simon Wheeler, with a subversive deadpan humor. On the contrary, this frame necessarily identifies the fictional Wheeler as a genuine simpleton. Twain similarly framed his historical source for the “Jumping Frog” story; his possession accrued not from exercising artistic originality but through publication and accreditation.
Download the article from Project Muse at the link. Tip of the beret to Simon Stern via @ArsScripta.

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