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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 27 May 1998 15:49:23 -0400
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
"Robert H. Hirst" <[log in to unmask]>
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Dear Barb,

I think it's fair to say that Margot Fox's NY Times piece somewhat
exaggerated the obscurity of "The Great Republic's Peanut Stand," at least
in the scholarly literature on Mark Twain. The piece was actually well
known enough to be mentioned and annotated several times in Clemens's
letters to HH Rogers, which we collected in *Mark Twain's Correspondence
with Henry Huttleston Rogers* (UCPress, 1969). I mentioned this fact to Ms.
Fox, who promised to call me back before going to press, but she seems to
have overlooked the reference (and she never got around to calling back,

Of the "2 vols." being prepared in 1899 only one would appear roughly as
planned. The specific table of contents for the two volumes of sketches
mentioned in the letter to Harper is in fact reproduced in the notes to the
edition just mentioned, on p. 421. The volumes in question were to be added
to the Uniform edition. Indeed, most of the pieces listed there did in fact
appear in Harper's *The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories and
Essays* (BAL 3459), published in June 1900. (The English edition, BAL 3460,
included several more that were not used in the American edition of this
title.) I can't easily summarize what happened to the others, except to say
that some were and some were not later included in subsequent volumes of
sketches (see *My Debut As a Literary Person*). "Peanut Stand" remained
unpublished, at least in part because in January 1905 Clemens published
"Concerning Copyright: An Open Letter to the Register of Copyrights," which
contained a much more compact version of the arguments set forth in "Peanut
Stand." (Part of the interest of "Peanut Stand" is that it sets forth parts
of the argument more fully than Clemens did elsewhere.)

So, yes "Peanut Stand" is the same as "The Great Republic's Peanut Stand,"
and as the above edition (MT-HHR) indicates, it was not immediately sent to
Rogers, despite Clemens's original intention to do so. The table of
contents prepared by Harper, however, shows that within a year Clemens had
sent him some text, probably in the form of a revised typescript, now lost.
Exactly when it was decided, and by whom, not to publish "Peanut Stand" in
the first volume of sketches (June 1900), I can't say at this point, but
the correspondence for these years will probably turn up some sort of
evidence. Obviously, the second envisioned volume of sketches did not get
published at this time, or even as roughly planned.

Bob Hirst