By Harry Collis

Funny riddles with comedian illustrations aid ESL scholars achieve new insights into American language and tradition. each one riddle is followed via textual content that is helping scholars grab and grasp the underlying linguistic and cultural explanation why the comic story is humorous.

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His love interest Maria (from a genteel, wealthy family) cannot understand his commitment to realistic narrative: “[W]hy do you persist,” she wonders, “in writing such things when you know they won’t sell? . Surely it will offend your readers, and surely that is why the editors are justified in refusing your work” (ch. 33). Predictably, Maria breaks off her relationship with Martin out of frustration with his unpragmatic approach to career-building. Later, once Eden’s hard-won success is established, London’s novel illustrates how celebrity authorship changes interpersonal commodities and celebrities 11 relationships, as Maria tries to reaffiliate with Martin, now desirable because of his monetary ­success and his fame.

The impact of these periodical-based constructions of authors’ public identities could be so intense as to make writers feel they had little control over the process, as Anzia Yezierska would show in a satirical scene in her literary memoir, Red Ribbon on a White Horse (1950). Recalling a lunch she shared with one critic at the famed Algonquin dining room in New York, Yezierska described a series of critics claiming to have originated her characterization as a Cinderella of the tenements—and pulling out their own press releases to prove it.

As Blake has noted, “The butterfly descends to us today as a testament to Whitman’s remarkable merger of poetry and publicity” (3). For Whitman, photographs may have been more productive of reputation-shaping than money-making, but his concerted efforts to manage these images signal an astute awareness of authorship’s potential link to celebrity identity. Among America’s novelists, no author better understood the power of the photographic portrait than Mark Twain, whose cultivation of celebrity cut across virtually every strategy for self-promotion available throughout his career.

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