Ring Lardner Tonight: Part 1 of "The Young Immigrunts" -- The road to "Shut up he explained"
The dust-jacket photo on Ring Jr.'s family reminiscence features a photo that would date from perhaps a couple of years after the heroic journey chronicled in "The Young Immigrunts."
"The next thing was how was we going to make the trip as my father had boughten a new car that the cheepest way to get it there was drive it besides carrying a grate deal of our costly bagage but if all of us went in it they would be no room left for our costly bagage and besides 2 of my brothers always acts like devils incarnite when they get in a car so my mother said to our nurse."
-- from Chapter 2 of "The Young Immigrunts"
As travel odysseys go, the one we begin tonight seems to me only slightly more fraught with tension and peril than that prototype Odyssey of Homer's. My original plan was to split the tale into three parts, but now that we've had two night's worth of grounding in the particular world of Ring Lardner ("Who's Who -- and Why" and the Preface to "How to Write Short Stories" Monday night, and the Prefaces to "The Love Nest" and "The Story of a Wonder Man" last night), I've decided we're going to do it in two -- the Preface and Chapters 1-5 tonight, Chapters 6-11 tomorrow night.
Perhaps Lardner scholars have worked it out, or perhaps only the Master himself could tell us how true this account is to the epic journey of the Lardner clan -- father Ring, mother Ellis, and sons John (born in 1912), James (born in 1914), Ring Jr. (born in 1915), and David (born in 1919) -- in 1919 when the family pulled up stakes and moved east. There seems no reason to doubt that the division of the travel party was as represented by the four-year-old narrator, with his three brothers journeying by train in the company of the family nurse and young Bill, as Ring Jr. was known, riding with his parents in the family's new car.
UPDATE: I belatedly got my copy of Ring Lardner Jr.'s The Young Lardners off the shelf for the first time in goodness knows how long, and it turns out that the putative four-year-old author of "The Young Immigrunts" has answers to questions of its background and factuality. We'll have that with Part 2 tomorrow.
Ready? Then, eastward ho!
UPDATE 2: With the additional material from Ring Lardner Jr., and related issues, there's just too much ground still to cover, so we're going back to my original plan, to do "The Young Immigrunts" in three parts.
FOR THE FIRST
ODYSSEY OF "THE NEW IMMIGRUNTS," CLICK HERE
THURBER TONIGHT (including BENCHLEY TONIGHT,
WILL CUPPY TONIGHT, and WOLCOTT GIBBS TONIGHT):
Check out the series to date
Labels: Ring Lardner