Chris Uggen's Blog: huckleberry jam

Monday, May 08, 2006

huckleberry jam

my good friend and colleague carl malmquist just released a new edition of his authoritative monograph, homicide: a psychiatric perspective.

i was struck by the acknowledgments as well as the text. first, carl recognizes up-front those he met as homicide defendants and patients in his work as a forensic psychiatrist. when they don't omit them altogether, sociologists often fail to acknowledge research participants until after they have thanked everyone from their second cousins to their realtors.

second, carl's acknowledgments begin with this little gem from mark twain's huckleberry finn:

... 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.

i've read these words before, of course, but somehow they seem more salient these days. if you are currently struggling to put a book or a dissertation out of its misery, i'll bet they seem a little salient to you too.


At 5:34 AM, Anonymous valerio said...

i love reading acknowledgments. i don't know why because most of the time they are quite the same. nevertheless, some of them are little gems, and it is worth reading ten different acknowledgments to find one in which the author writes something interesting like that huck finn quote.

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous oblion said...

My best friend is an editor of a women's magazine. She writes the editor's notes each month. She was able to be there when the baby was born and wrote a wonderful "notes" about this one month and another one about her sister's wedding. Then another month she wrote one about trees and spring comming, and her readers were not as impressed. Her response was a bit funny when she stated that she doesn't have a wedding or birth each month to dedicate her notes to.


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