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"Kevin. Mac Donnell" <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 3 Oct 2008 14:07:18 -0500
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> Also the many fine "thin" bios of particular aspects of MT--MT and
> MT & Women; Getting to be MT, MT and Courtship, MT as social critic or
> social philosopher;  Jim Dilemma; MT and Slavery(Searching for Jim); Nook
> Farm; there are at least a couple dozen others worthy of mention, sorry
> those escaping my immediate memory.  The biography page on the MT Forum
> lists many of these.

> Harold K. Bush, Ph.D

Harold makes an excellent point, to which I'd just add that I think it
depends on what you want from a Twain biography. The serious researcher must
begin with those by Paine and Henderson (despite Paine's shortcomings). The
general reader will truly enjoy Ron Powers' readable and accurate account.
Elizabeth MacLeod's recent Twain bio for kids is very good (full disclosure;
I contributed a boatload of illustrations from my collection). The biography
soon to appear by Jerry Loving (I've read it) will have wide appeal. And so
on... it just depends...

The only Twain biography that I have not yet seen is one akin to Robert
Richardson's astonishing biography of Thoreau (HENRY THOREAU: A LIFE OF THE
MIND). Yes, many Twain bios trace the evolution of his thoughts (Ron Powers,
Jerry Loving, and many shorter treatments) but Richardson keeps a focus that
is amazing. Read his account of Thoreau and then imagine a similar treatment
of Twain. Zounds!

Kevin Mac Donnell
Austin TX