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Friday, February 11, 2011

1601 Conversation as it was by the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors (kindle) by Mark Twain

The commentary is actually more interesting than the story

Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Literary critic Edward Wagenknecht called 1601 "the most famous piece of pornography in American literature."

Just to be clear, it's not really pornography, at least not by modern standards. Rather, it's a short story featuring Queen Elizabeth I, Ben Jonson, Beaumont, Shakespeare, the Duchess of Bilgewater, Sir Walter Raleigh and a few other people all in a closet talking about passing gas and sex.

Sound strange?

Well, it is and only so-so funny.

3/4 of this download is a fairly interesting commentary on the history of the story and about the characters. We learn that Twain wrote this as a diversion after the publication of Tom Sawyer (while he was working on Huckleberry Finn) during a time of writer's block. Twain showed it to some friends who published a few copies and then it snowballed. Twain's 1601 went "viral" before there was an internet, apparently.

I rate this kindle short story 3 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: 1601 Conversation as it was by the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors.

Reviewed on May 20, 2009.

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