What could be more appropriate to read on National Grammar Day (March 4th) than Mark Twain criticizing Ralph Waldo Emerson’s grammar? Though Twain was a little harsh writing about Emerson (who had been dead for four years,) Twain did respect Emerson, and had occasion to visit him a few times. Emerson, for his part, found Twain entertaining, and especially enjoyed The Innocents Abroad.
Excerpted from Twain’s original manuscript:
Dear Mrs. Benjamin :
You are right — it is from Emerson, grammar & all : a selection of my wife’s, who has been an Emersonian devotee all her life. I do not mean that the grammar is not correct, I merely mean that in one place it all at once arrests the flow of your serenity for a moment, like gravel in the bread.
To read the complete original manuscript: Mark Twain on Ralph Waldo Emerson: His Grammar is Like Gravel in Bread
More on Twain and Emerson’s history: Mark Twain bombs in history’s first roast