TURN EAST, TURN WEST by Henry Seidel Canby


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A dual, critical study of Mark Twain and Henry James, which in its points of comparison and contrast was suggested by Plutarch's Parallel Lives, and in which these men, their personalities, their works, and the American impulse behind them are the focus of a knowledgeable appraisal and interpretation. For here, in opposition to the extroverted, exuberant environment of the Mississippi (on West) from which Mark Twain derived the indigenous substance of his books, is the isolated, intellectual culture of the James' household, and the turning Eastward- to Europe- for a ""denser"" climate in which he felt more at ease; and here too, is the progression of their books, the instinctive art of Mark Twain, the more deliberate workmanship of Henry James, as each attained a different kind of success, and in the last years- decline and disillusion. In a parallel portrait which catches the restlessness of Mark Twain as against the containment of Henry James, the natural validity of Huckleberry Finn as against the polished refinements of The Ambassadors. Dr. Canby sustains a shifting literary counterpoint of tastes and talents, attitudes and pressures, directions and achievements.

Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin