TWAIN-L Archives

Mark Twain Forum


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Jim Zwick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Sun, 6 Mar 2005 23:33:29 -0500
text/plain (34 lines)
I'd like to add one point in favor of the new edition of the The Portable
Mark Twain.  In the comparison chart of the contents of the old and
new editions Barbara Schmidt appended to the web version of her
review, different sources are listed for "To the Person Sitting in
Darkness."  DeVoto got the text from Europe and Elsewhere (1923),
and Quirk went back to the original publication in the North American
Review (Feb. 1901).  Like Quirk's rejection of the bowdlerized texts of
The Mysterious Stranger and "The United States of Lyncherdom," that
is a significant choice.

Even though it was published in full in 1901, Paine censored "To the
Person Sitting in Darkness" before including it in Europe and
Elsewhere.  He removed a passage of about 145 words with Twain's
suggestion that the U.S. army adopt khaki for its uniforms -- "yellow
stuff such as quarantine flags are made of, and which are hoisted to
warn the healthy away from unclean disease and repulsive death."  In
"The Politics of Publishing: A Note on the Bowdlerization of Mark
Twain" (Markham Review, Fall 1977), William Andrews suggested
that Paine removed that section in deference to the army after World
War I.

For quite a long time, Paine's censored version of "To the Person
Sitting in Darkness" was the primary, if not the only, version of the
essay available in book form.  Besides DeVoto's edition of The
Portable Mark Twain, it was included in Janet Smith's Mark Twain on
the Damned Human Race (1962); Charles Neider's The Complete
Essays of Mark Twain (1963); Maxwell Geismar's Mark Twain and the
Three R's: Race, Religion, Revolution, and Related Matters (1973);
and probably in many other anthologies drawn from Paine's editions
of Twain's works.  It's good to see the full, uncensored text used in the
new edition of The Portable Mark Twain.

Jim Zwick