I’ve often wished that someone would rewrite the end of Huckleberry Finn (Paul Bowles)

I’ve often wished that someone would rewrite the end of Huckleberry Finn, delivering it from the farcical closing scenes which Twain, probably embarrassed by the lyrical sweep of the nearly completed book, decided were necessary if the work were to be appreciated by American readers. It’s the great American novel, damaged beyond repair by its author’s senseless sabotage. I’d be interested to have your opinion, or do you feel that the book isn’t worth having an opinion about, since a botched masterpiece isn’t a masterpiece at all? Yet to counterfeit the style successfully, so that the break would be seamless and the prose following it a convincing continuation of what came before—that seems an impossible task. So I shan’t try it, myself.

From Paul Bowles’s short story “Unwelcome Words.”

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4 thoughts on “I’ve often wished that someone would rewrite the end of Huckleberry Finn (Paul Bowles)”

  1. I think the ending of Huck Finn is an interesting and strange diversion. It may not be “great” but it’s a very peculiar moment of true interest. Partly because of how it counterpoints Tom Sawyer’s and Huck Finn’s ways of doing things. Also, the Twain satire of romance, almost recalling Cervantes’ satirizing of the chivalric romance tradition, is shown in some of these last chapters in a shocking way.

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