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Larry Howe <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 3 Sep 2010 12:47:18 -0500
text/plain (88 lines)

Thanks,  that kind of dccumentation is what we still call scholarship.

Grazie mille,

On Sep 3, 2010, at 12:27 PM, Robert Hirst wrote:

>  John and Larry,
> Lou Budd published that conjecture back in 1985. In 1997 (i.e.,
> prehistoric times) I
> posted the following to the Forum as part of a discussion of that
> photograph.
> *Date:*          Thu, 10 Apr 1997 12:36:58 -0700
> *Reply-To:*      Mark Twain Forum<[log in to unmask]  < 
> >>
> *Sender:*        Mark Twain Forum<[log in to unmask]  < 
> >>
> *From:*          Robert Hirst<[log in to unmask]  < 
> >>
> *Subject:*       Re: Barechested Photo
> *In-Reply-To:*   <l03010d02af72e0c3e2c3@[]>
> *Content-Type:*  TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
> See Louis J. Budd, "`A Nobler Roman Aspect' of *Adventures of
> Huckleberry Finn*" in *One Hundred Years of Huckleberry Finn,* ed.
> Robert Sattlemeyer and J. Donald Crowley, 1985, pp. 26-40. Columbia:
> University of Missouri Press.
> When that proved to too enigmatic, I posted the following:
> *Date:*          Thu, 10 Apr 1997 16:25:52 -0700
> *Reply-To:*      Mark Twain Forum<[log in to unmask]  < 
> >>
> *Sender:*        Mark Twain Forum<[log in to unmask]  < 
> >>
> *From:*          Robert Hirst<[log in to unmask]  < 
> >>
> *Subject:*       Budd on photo
> *In-Reply-To:*   <[log in to unmask]  < 
> >>
> *Content-Type:*  TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
> Mr. Henninger, Lou Budd's essay is about the heliotype of the Gerhardt
> bust of Clemens that serves as one of the frontispieces to *Huck  
> Finn*.
> His comment on the photograph comes entirely in his footnote 3:
> "Twainians have wondered over a stripped-to-the-waist photograph,
> reproduced in Milton Meltzer, *Mark Twain Himself* (New York: Crowell,
> 1960), p. 182. Perhaps it was posed for the use of Gerhardt, who  
> wanted
> photographs of his subject; see the anecdote in *Mark Twain-Howells
> Letters*, 2:498." The simplicity of this observation belies its power.
> First of all, the photograph had already been independently dated  
> 1884,
> just on the basis of its similarity to other known photos of that  
> time.
> Second, as any sculptor will tell you, it is necessary to see the
> shoulders in order to get the neck right. Third, the Gerhardt bust  
> shows
> Clemens without so much as a shirt collar or necktie. In short, the
> argument uses one document (the bust) to explain the existence and
> purpose of another (the photo). Elegant. I'd note further that the  
> lack
> of this or any comparable explanation also helps explain previous
> comments on the photo. Justin Kaplan printed the photo in his 1966
> biography with the following caption: "Nearing 50, probably a private
> joke." But Kaplan has no *evidence* that the photo was part of a joke,
> private or otherwise--he's just projecting his own reaction onto it
> (`since it seems funny to me, its purpose must be a joke'). Naturally
> other readers will project other feelings and conclusions and guesses
> onto what seems both odd and unexplained, as we've seen already on the
> FORUM. It's hard to make any progress that way. Budd's argument may
> prove mistaken in the end, but at least it is based on documents, on
> physical evidence. It's what used to be known as scholarship.
> Forum members might like to know, in addition, that the only original
> print of the photograph that I'm aware of is in the Mark Twain Papers,
> and that it was sent to the Papers when Henry Nash Smith was editor by
> Avis DeVoto, shortly after she gave her husbands's papers to Stanford.
> She obviously recognized that DeVoto had inadvertently left it out of
> the archive that he turned over to Dixon Wecter in the mid 1940s.
> Bob Hirst