Mark Twain and the English Language
You don't know about me, without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.
With these sentences, Mark Twain not only began his finest novel but uttered a clarion call for a new way of writing. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain used seven distinct dialects to reflect the speech patterns of various characters, and he also became the first important author to capture the freshness and vitality of the newly hewn American idiom in narrative as well as dialogue. Just as Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales is the first significant work written in the English language, Huckleberry Finn is the first novel of world rank to be written entirely in the American language.