Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Performing Class: James Whitcomb Riley's Poetry of Distinction

Performing Class: James Whitcomb Riley's Poetry of Distinction Now at that time, before the severance of that old bond, this one’s name (pointing to Mr. Riley) was Chang Riley and this one’s Eng Nye. These were Siamese names-names not conferred o n them-born with the names. You could tell it because there was a hyphen between them. (Laughter.) Those Siamese names I could translate into English, but it would be very difficult and would require a great deal of machinery (applause), so that it is not worth while to d o it.1 Twain pressed the joke, asserting that Chang Riley a n d Eng Nye were bound together because they could not work independently; Riley had all of the muscle, but Nye had all of the brains: “When Mr. Chang Riley enchants your spirit and touches your heart with the tender music of his voice . . . you will remember to place him where justice would put him. It’s not his music, it’s the other man’s. (Laughter.) H e only turns the crank.”z Tremont Temple represented the pinnacle of Bostonian respectability, a n d “Chang Riley” was funny partly because h e was incongruous there. As Twain jokingly linked Riley to Barnum’s Chang, 1 Boston http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modern Language Quarterly: A Journal of Literary History Duke University Press

Performing Class: James Whitcomb Riley's Poetry of Distinction

Loading next page...
 
/lp/duke-university-press/performing-class-james-whitcomb-riley-s-poetry-of-distinction-NXnGGgqARO
Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 1999 by University of Washington
ISSN
0026-7929
eISSN
1527-1943
DOI
10.1215/00267929-60-2-197
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Now at that time, before the severance of that old bond, this one’s name (pointing to Mr. Riley) was Chang Riley and this one’s Eng Nye. These were Siamese names-names not conferred o n them-born with the names. You could tell it because there was a hyphen between them. (Laughter.) Those Siamese names I could translate into English, but it would be very difficult and would require a great deal of machinery (applause), so that it is not worth while to d o it.1 Twain pressed the joke, asserting that Chang Riley a n d Eng Nye were bound together because they could not work independently; Riley had all of the muscle, but Nye had all of the brains: “When Mr. Chang Riley enchants your spirit and touches your heart with the tender music of his voice . . . you will remember to place him where justice would put him. It’s not his music, it’s the other man’s. (Laughter.) H e only turns the crank.”z Tremont Temple represented the pinnacle of Bostonian respectability, a n d “Chang Riley” was funny partly because h e was incongruous there. As Twain jokingly linked Riley to Barnum’s Chang, 1 Boston

Journal

Modern Language Quarterly: A Journal of Literary HistoryDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 1999

There are no references for this article.