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Alan Gribben <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 20 Jun 2006 16:08:18 -0500
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Dear Friends,

Some of you may recall that Everett Emerson wrote about Twain's inveterate
smoking habits in "Smoking and Health:  The Case of Samuel L. Clemens," NEW
ENGLAND QUARTERLY 70 (1997): 548-566.  Professor Emerson even went so far
there as to blame SLC for Livy's heart problems, the first time anyone had
ventured that opinion in print.  He discussed this topic in much less detail
in MARK TWAIN:  A LITERARY LIFE (Philadelphia:  U of Pennsylvania P, 2000),
p. 266, noting that "for years . . . she had been breathing her husband's
cigar and pipe smoke, even at night in their bedroom, where, by the practice
of the day, the windows were usually closed.  In fact, his favorite place to
smoke was while he was in bed."  Emerson also quotes William Dean Howells,
who in MY MARK TWAIN (1910) observed, "I do not know how much a man may
smoke and live, but apparently he smoked as much as a man could, for he
smoked incessantly" (p. 39).

As has been observed, the act of smoking was viewed much differently in an
earlier century--or, for that matter, even three decades ago.  I can
remember the resentment of some smokers when they were instructed to
extinguish their smoking materials in the movie theaters.


Alan Gribben
Auburn University Montgomery