June 22, 2007 - 0 Comments

"Mark Twain said of Tom Sawyer that it 'is simply a hymn, put into prose form to give it a wordly air.' He might have said the same, and with even more reason, of Huckleberry Finn, which is a hymn to an older America forever gone, an America which had its great national faults, which was full of violence and even of cruelty, but which still maintained its sense of reality, for it was not yet enthralled by money, the father of ultimate illusion and lies. Against the money-god stands the river-god, whose comments are silent--sunlight, space, uncrowded time, stillness, and danger. It was quickly forgotten once its practical usefulness had passed, but, as Mr. Eliot’s poem says, 'The river is within us...'"

- Lionel Trilling, The Liberal Imagination, 1948.


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