Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Great Endings: Huckleberry Finn

Tom's most well now, and got his bullet around his neck on a watch-guard for a watch, and is always seeing what time it is, and so there ain't nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I'd a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn't a tackled it, and ain't a-going to no more. But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

R.I.P., Hadley Caliman. Rock fans know the jazz saxophonist for the wispy, ethereal opening declaration he contributed to Santana's Caravanserai. Here he is in 1979 with Freddie Hubbard (that's Leon Thomas on scat):


Roy said...

Sad to hear that Little Dex is gone. That was a great video; it's a treat to hear ol' Hubcaps and Leon Thomas again (I always loved Leon's work with 'Trane). Now that Caliman's passed on, none of the guys in that video are with us any more, and that is sad indeed!

The connection with Carlos Santana reminds me that Carlos's connection with the jazz world is badly underplayed. I remember his work with Miles, and in his live concert tour to promote the Supernatural album he brought Wayne Shorter along to do improvs with. Carlos is a great man, and his greatness goes far beyond his guitar skills!

Ima Wizer said...

This old book is beautiful! It looks to be in near perfect condition! Oh how I love old books!

sussah said...

Hi K, Here is a scruffy Mississippi River picture for you in honor of Huckleberry Finn, the book and the boy. sp

Foxessa said...

Ol Huck Finn gave Twain so much trouble in the writing that you know that's Twain himself writing that!

Love, C.

Christine H. said...

I look at that book and think of all the book stores that have closed. My mother uses a Kindle and audio books. I understand the practicality of it, and I suppose it's better for the environment. Still, I mourn the demise of beautiful books like this.

K. said...

Roy: Could Freddie pose or what? I didn't know that Leon was gone. He puts in a guest vocal on Santana's Welcome album, IMHO Carlos' most underrated record. Carlos also recorded the album Love Devotion Surrender with John McLaughlin. When I saw Carlos in '77, the show was more jazz than anything else. Carlos will always have a special place in my heart: Growing up in South Texas, Santana was one of the few things that Anglo kids and Hispanic kids agreed was great. Just a wonderful musician and human being.

Ima: Old books are a treasure.

Sussah: The picture didn't come through. I'd really like to see it. Roy, Sussah, be sure to check out each other's work.

Foxessa: I took a Huckleberry Finn seminar in college. The essential premise was that Twain knew exactly what he was doing in the much-maligned last fifth of the book. As the professor put it, "This is Mark Twain, not some hack." He had a great and convincing theory about how Tom Sawyer was the true villain of the book. the exemplar of "sivilization" that Huck fled at the end. If someone held a gun to my head and made me name the two best closing sentences in American literature, those are the two I'd choose.

Christine: I wish you could have participated in some of the discussions Premium T. and I have had about this, We believe that the future of the printed page lies in well-made books and special editions. I actually think that electronic publishing will be exciting once the design people are allowed to design books for electronic consumption. The technology will have to improve, but it will.

Foxessa said...

What I meant was -- recall how long it took him to write Huck? He didn't know how to end it for a very long time, so he stopped working on it.

It may well have been caused by his angry bemusement that the country went through this bloody Civil War, and then turned around and went right backwards regarding slavery and the South revisionism of history -- and even actual action within the legal systems --putting the same people right back in power just about the moment of Appomattox. I've been following these Big Southern names from the lead up between the Louisiana Purchase, through the Civil War and after in my research these two weeks. They didn't lose a thing in the War or in Reconstruction, and when their great estates finally went down, it was due to the big bank crises and crashes from the looting of the robber barons, etc. around 1901 or 03. This is particularly true in Louisiana.

I'm just intuiting this about Twain's difficulty finishing Huck from how so many of us feel about what's been going on here in this country again, in the last decades.

This doesn't mean I'm right though.

Love, C.

sussah said...

I think the link to the single muddy river photo was too long, but I'll try again... here's the post, and I was trying to give you the 3rd photo. Thanks! sp

K. said...

sussah: Got the link! Great photos, as always.

Foxessa: Twain had trouble with the book, no doubt. He never did come up with a believable reason for Huck and Jim to turn south when they neared Cairo. Still my desert island book, warts and all!

stupid and contagious said...

Is the phrase 'Great Ending' related to the phrase 'Happy Ending'?!