Friday, September 03, 2010
Changing Literary Tastes
A relative mentioned she needed to decide what to do with the set of Harvard Classics her father had bought. That led me to Google it, and also The Great Books of the Western World which I vaguely remember being advertised in the Saturday Review of Literature when I was growing up. (I wanted to assure her that everything would be available for free for download to her Kindle.) If you skim over the listings, you find only one Twain short story in the Harvard Classics and no Melville at all. James is represented by The Portrait of a Lady. That fits my memory, which is Twain was regarded as a children's author. The Great Books, which represent more of an 1950's establishment version, include Huckleberry Finn and Moby Dick, showing the change in opinion in the first half of the century.