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"Kevin. Mac Donnell" <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 14 Sep 2006 11:43:10 -0500
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 I was unaware of what Barb is pointing out--that it turns up in
> interviews of 1884.  Her point that his use of the term "Nigger Jim" is
> still disputable, given the nature of the interviews, is worth making.

Perhaps a misunderstanding here... I don't think that's what Barb was
saying. Barb reported that newspaper reporters used the term or implied that
Twain used the term in his readings during the Twain-Cable tour, not that
Twain used the term in his interviews during that tour. I have read the 19
interviews Twain gave during that tour and although HF is mentioned a few
times, the phrase "Nigger Jim" never comes up. In fact, I don't think Jim
gets mentioned at all by Twain in any interview during that tour.

I've not seen the term in any of the promotional materials prepared by Pond
(although I don't have any examples of any "press kit" Pond might have given
to reporters in each town, and no evidence that Pond did so). I do have a
few reporters' accounts of that tour in which they use the name Nigger Jim
themselves, but when they quote Twain directly Jim is just Jim. A careful
persual of the books by Arlin Turner and Fred Lorch might clarify things
further or even reveal reporters actually quoting Twain using the name. I
think the Tauchnitz edition of HF that Twain used for later public readings
(not the Twain-Cable tour, but in 1895) is at Berkeley and well marked. I
think some of it was reproduced in the Berkeley edition, but I don't know if
that marked copy of HF might shed some light on this question.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but there's a distinct difference between
putting the name Nigger Jim in Twain's mouth or just having a reporter use
it. The question of Twain's use of the term in other [non literary] contexts
is a separate issue and a book-length discussion. I do remember many years
ago being dismayed to discover Twain using the word "nigger" in a letter he
wrote somebody, ca. 1900-05.

Kevin Mac Donnell
Austin TX