The Diary of Adam and Eve - Mark Twain, John Updike I'm going to cheat a bit here because this isn't the edition I'm reading. I'm reading the free ebooks (linked below), but there isn't an easy way of noting "hey, I'm reading both of these." Both are actually short stories rather than what we'd consider books, and my argument is that if you want to read them you should really just read both, one after another. The stories/diaries compliment each other and are far more amusing when you have both the "he said" and "she said" parts.I first heard of these diaries when my statistics teacher in graduate school read some of them aloud in class - which I thought was wonderful. He was an admitted Twain fan, but aside from that managed to tie them in to what we were studying. It made me enjoy the class so much more and gave me a better appreciation for Twain. I told myself that I'd have to read all of the diaries someday. And as usual, never got around to it - until now.Texts/Gutenberg links:Extracts from Adam's Diary, translated from the original ms. (1904) (wikipedia, GR page) - 10 pgs long (I think, judging from Gutenberg text)Eve's Diary, Complete (1906) (wikipedia, GR page) - 109 pgs long (via GR page - I think some of those pgs may be artwork)Contains Eve's Diary and Extract From Adam's Diary ORIf you want to read it within a story collection, try The 30,000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories (GR) where the last three chapters are:Extracts From Adam's DiaryEve's DiaryExtract From Adam's Diary I'm wimbling over 3 1/2 stars and 4. I enjoy Twain's writing here a great deal, but for some reason at this reading find the ending a bit too sad (see the spoiler). I can see bumping it to 4 later on a reread.So why read this? Well, the set up of having the first couple write diaries is amusing in itself - the novel written as a diary being something of a standard in Twain's time, it's a perfect thing to satirize. Twain uses some fairly standard bits of humor - "women talk a lot," "man thinks he's being smart when is actually quite slow to pick up on the obvious" - that kind of thing. That Eve writes more descriptive prose and is shown to be more intelligent than Adam - despite the ways in which she can be seen as shallow for liking clothes and pretty things - actually make her a lot more fun as a narrator. Twain must have realized this - Eve's diary gets many more pages than Adam does. And after reading enough of Eve's perspective it's hard not to be annoyed with Adam for - well, go read - you'll find many reasons. Some of Adam's early criticisms of Eve are about what many would consider positive traits, like curiosity, desire to try new things, etc. Also hers are the more emotional traits, like finding all animals beautiful regardless of usefulness, "...she thinks they are all treasures, every new one is welcome." We may be meant to laugh at Eve in some places, but I'm sure Twain allowed her all the emotional responses for a reason. Whether that's to ponder male vs female or use them as symbols of logic/reason/practicality vs. emotion/aesthetics/fun is up to you.The part that I don't particularly like is Eve's view of love and Adam, where she loves him in spite of all the things he isn't and that she lists - and she admits that "If he should beat me and abuse me, I should go on loving him" because "he is masculine" and "It is a matter of sex, I think." Many things uncomfortable in there for me - not sure how much this has to do with 2013 looking back at 1900, and how much it has to do with the abuse part. It's not a happy thing that a woman should mindlessly love someone only because he's male. But in this scenario he is also the Only Male and only other human being, so it's not like she has much choice about who to spend her life with. And it's also rather sad that early on she contemplates her reflection in a pool and considers it a sister.I do realize that Twain is doing something here with love being something you can't quantify: "it just comes - one knows whence - and cannot explain itself." At the same time, I don't completely buy that everyone can love without any reasoning behind it, especially if they can't come up with only vague positives about the other person. Especially when she admits "I am not so necessary to him as he is to me." This part just strikes me as sad.Quotes (to give you an idea of the humor, and so you can see how the two vary):Adam's Diary:TUESDAYBeen examining the great waterfall. It is the finest thing on the estate, I think. The new creature calls it Niagara Falls—why, I am sure I do not know. Says it looks like Niagara Falls. That is not a reason; it is mere waywardness and imbecility. I get no chance to name anything myself. The new creature names everything that comes along, before I can get in a protest. And always that same pretext is offered—it looks like the thing. There is the dodo, for instance. Says the moment one looks at it one sees at a glance that it "looks like a dodo." It will have to keep that name, no doubt. It wearies me to fret about it, and it does no good, anyway. Dodo! It looks no more like a dodo than I do....SATURDAYThe new creature eats too much fruit. We are going to run short, most likely. "We" again—that is its word; mine too, now, from hearing it so much. Good deal of fog this morning. I do not go out in the fog myself. The new creature does. It goes out in all weathers, and stumps right in with its muddy feet. And talks. It used to be so pleasant and quiet here....MONDAYThe new creature says its name is Eve. That is all right, I have no objections. Says it is to call it by when I want it to come. I said it was superfluous, then. The word evidently raised me in its respect; and indeed it is a large, good word, and will bear repetition. It says it is not an It, it is a She. This is probably doubtful; yet it is all one to me; what she is were nothing to me if she would but go by herself and not talk.Eve's DiarySATURDAY...Then if I am an experiment, am I the whole of it? No, I think not; I think the rest of it is part of it. I am the main part of it, but I think the rest of it has its share in the matter. Is my position assured, or do I have to watch it and take care of it? The latter, perhaps. Some instinct tells me that eternal vigilance is the price of supremacy. [That is a good phrase, I think, for one so young.] Everything looks better today than it did yesterday. In the rush of finishing up yesterday, the mountains were left in a ragged condition, and some of the plains were so cluttered with rubbish and remnants that the aspects were quite distressing. Noble and beautiful works of art should not be subjected to haste; and this majestic new world is indeed a most noble and beautiful work. And certainly marvelously near to being perfect, notwithstanding the shortness of the time. There are too many stars in some places and not enough in others, but that can be remedied presently, no doubt. The moon got loose last night, and slid down and fell out of the scheme—a very great loss; it breaks my heart to think of it. There isn't another thing among the ornaments and decorations that is comparable to it for beauty and finish. It should have been fastened better. If we can only get it back again— But of course there is no telling where it went to. And besides, whoever gets it will hide it; I know it because I would do it myself. I believe I can be honest in all other matters, but I already begin to realize that the core and center of my nature is love of the beautiful, a passion for the beautiful, and that it would not be safe to trust me with a moon that belonged to another person and that person didn't know I had it. I could give up a moon that I found in the daytime, because I should be afraid some one was looking; but if I found it in the dark, I am sure I should find some kind of an excuse for not saying anything about it. For I do love moons, they are so pretty and so romantic. I wish we had five or six; I would never go to bed; I should never get tired lying on the moss-bank and looking up at them....I couldn't get back home; it was too far and turning cold; but I found some tigers and nestled in among them and was most adorably comfortable, and their breath was sweet and pleasant, because they live on strawberries. I had never seen a tiger before, but I knew them in a minute by the stripes. If I could have one of those skins, it would make a lovely gown. ...SUNDAY...[After finding Adam:] When I found it could talk I felt a new interest in it, for I love to talk; I talk, all day, and in my sleep, too, and I am very interesting, but if I had another to talk to I could be twice as interesting, and would never stop, if desired.If this reptile is a man, it isn't an IT, is it? That wouldn't be grammatical, would it? I think it would be HE. I think so. In that case one would parse it thus: nominative, HE; dative, HIM; possessive, HIS'N. Well, I will consider it a man and call it he until it turns out to be something else. This will be handier than having so many uncertainties.NEXT WEEK SUNDAYAll the week I tagged around after him and tried to get acquainted. I had to do the talking, because he was shy, but I didn't mind it. He seemed pleased to have me around, and I used the sociable "we" a good deal, because it seemed to flatter him to be included....WEDNESDAY... During the last day or two I have taken all the work of naming things off his hands, and this has been a great relief to him, for he has no gift in that line, and is evidently very grateful. He can't think of a rational name to save him, but I do not let him see that I am aware of his defect. Whenever a new creature comes along I name it before he has time to expose himself by an awkward silence. In this way I have saved him many embarrassments. I have no defect like this. The minute I set eyes on an animal I know what it is. I don't have to reflect a moment; the right name comes out instantly, just as if it were an inspiration, as no doubt it is, for I am sure it wasn't in me half a minute before. I seem to know just by the shape of the creature and the way it acts what animal it is.When the dodo came along he thought it was a wildcat—I saw it in his eye. But I saved him. And I was careful not to do it in a way that could hurt his pride. I just spoke up in a quite natural way of pleasing surprise, and not as if I was dreaming of conveying information, and said, "Well, I do declare, if there isn't the dodo!" I explained—without seeming to be explaining—how I know it for a dodo, and although I thought maybe he was a little piqued that I knew the creature when he didn't, it was quite evident that he admired me. That was very agreeable, and I thought of it more than once with gratification before I slept. How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have earned it! Extract From Adam's Diary:...When the mighty brontosaurus came striding into camp, she regarded it as an acquisition, I considered it a calamity; that is a good sample of the lack of harmony that prevails in our views of things. She wanted to domesticate it, I wanted to make it a present of the homestead and move out. She believed it could be tamed by kind treatment and would be a good pet; I said a pet twenty-one feet high and eighty-four feet long would be no proper thing to have about the place, because, even with the best intentions and without meaning any harm, it could sit down on the house and mash it, for any one could see by the look of its eye that it was absent-minded.Still, her heart was set upon having that monster, and she couldn't give it up. She thought we could start a dairy with it, and wanted me to help milk it; but I wouldn't; it was too risky. The sex wasn't right, and we hadn't any ladder anyway. Then she wanted to ride it, and look at the scenery. Thirty or forty feet of its tail was lying on the ground, like a fallen tree, and she thought she could climb it, but she was mistaken; when she got to the steep place it was too slick and down she came, and would have hurt herself but for me. Image from this Guetenberg text (download page linked above, this is the html link), which is worth paging through online if your downloaded version doesn't allow you the images.