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Dave Davis <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 28 Mar 2023 16:04:20 -0400
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I wonder if this ties to the unfinished piece "Huck and Tom Among the
Indians" (editor's title). He seems to have run aground on his premise, and
between not feeling able to write about rape, and maybe seeing where this
was going with his depiction of the indigenous people in the story, he put
it in a box and never took it out again.

*(One of my few Twain collectible treasures is the Life Magzine issue, from
1968, in which that fragment was first published.)*


On Tue, Mar 28, 2023 at 3:35 PM Peter Salwen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Have to agree with you, Scott. For some of his admirers, Twain's harsh
> contempt, bordering on disgust, for American Indians is one of the most
> troubling aspects of his complicated mind.
> O n reflection, maybe this shouldn't be any surprise. In his western years,
> Sam was still an unapologetic southern racist. His early humor, for
> instance, traded freely in racist jokes and slurs -- right up till the end
> of 1867, when he did a sudden about-face as he started wooing an
> abolitionist's daughter.
> And of course, his white associates in Nevada and California seem to have
> had no respect or regard for the local Indians, and young Sam Clemens would
> have had no argument with that, especially with his grandmother's  stories
> deeply engrained in his memory.
> Even so, there's a peculiar & enduring venom in Twain's attitude that I've
> never quite been able to understand.
> On Mon, Mar 27, 2023, 12:54 PM Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> > I recently queried about a note I found in "Heretical Fictions" on his
> > apparent sympathy for "Indians" in his later decades.  I received a
> > reference to a  masters Thesis from 1984 that argues he never actually
> > hated Indians, he was only using them as a rhetorical device to
> > criticize Western Civilization.  My opinion is that the vehemence of his
> > comments belie this idea.  I posted a short essay on this on my personal
> > website for those interested.
> >
> > --
> > /Unaffiliated Geographer and Twain aficionado/
> >