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Barbara Schmidt <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 20 Dec 2010 10:44:19 -0600
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I think both of the New York reviewers were intimidated by the
scholarly apparatus which is one of the most valuable things I found
in the book.  I think both would have been happy with something akin
to the Paine version of the autobiography. That is not what this
edition is about.  It is about finding the keys to the inner workings
of a creative mind -- and how that mind was constantly revealing
itself (and in some cases trying to conceal itself) with little dabs
of painted narrative that add up to a whole picture. The two reviewers
call the book a "Royal Nonesuch" because they are not able to
comprehend the larger picture and they think they have been
hornswaggled by publicity. I'd be surprised if either reviewer spent
time reading the annotations.  I am reminded of the closing lines of
Mark Twain's "A Fable" and the moral by the cat, "You can find in a
text whatever you bring, if you will stand between it and the mirror
of your imagination. You may not see your ears, but they will be