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The New York Times, March 19, 1885


From the Springfield Republican.

The Concord public library committee deserve well of the public by their action in banishing Mark Twain's new book, "Huckleberry Finn," on the ground that it is trashy and vicious. It is time that this influential pseudonym should cease to carry into homes and libraries unworthy productions. Mr. Clemens is a genuine and powerful humorist, and with a bitter vein of satire on the weaknesses of humanity which is sometimes wholesome, sometimes only grotesque, but in certain of his works degenerates into a gross trifling with every fine feeling. The trouble with Mr. Clemens is that he has no reliable sense of propriety. His notorious speech at an Atlantic dinner, marshaling Longfellow and Emerson and Whittier in vulgar parodies in a Western miner's cabin, illustrated this, but not in much more relief than the "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" did, or than these Huckleberry Finn stories do. The advertising samples of this book, which have disfigured the Century magazine, are enough to tell any reader how offensive the whole thing must be. They are no better in tone than the dime novels which flood the blood-and-thunder reading population. Mr. Clemens has made them smarter, for he has an inexhaustible fund of "quips and cranks and wanton wiles," and his literary skill is, of course, superior, but their moral level is low, and their perusal cannot be anything less than harmful.

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