Ring Lardner added significantly to a tradition dating back at least as far as Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). Using first-person monologue (usually humorous, always steeped in colloquialisms, occasionally in the form of correspondence), Lardner allowed his characters to reveal themselves, warts and all. As such, the superficiality and insincerity of his narrators is starkly contrasted with the often harsh truths they unintentionally reveal. This allowed Lardner to illustrate some of the less edifying aspects of American society and human nature in general. He also captured the spoken language (and slang) of ordinary people, rendering it as an art form unto itself. Thus, in addition to their entertainment value, Lardner’s stories provide a telling picture of American manners and morals during the first third or so of the twentieth century. Finally, Lardner was a pioneer in the fruitful marriage between the game of baseball and American letters, laying the foundation for later works by prominent authors such as Mark Harris (Bang the Drum Slowly, 1956), W. P. Kinsella (Shoeless Joe, 1982, filmed as Field of Dreams, 1989), Bernard Malamud (The Natural, 1952), and Philip Roth (The Great American Novel, 1973).