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Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 26 Sep 2021 00:29:03 -0700
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Were there any stops made by the America on its journey south? It seems 
unlikely that cholera would have been introduced at the outset, from San 
Francisco.  I read the "madeallthedifference" article but I don't sense 
the kind of fatalism in Twain's poem that would arise from deaths aboard 
the ship.  It also seems very early in his career for him to be too 
worried about being a genius. So, I remain a bit baffled regarding the 
subject(s) of his open verse.  I'm leaning towards the idea that he is 
reacting to something he was reading.  Passing out dead drunk in an 
alley doesn't fit with my image of the man.

On 9/25/21 3:36 PM, Barbara Schmidt wrote:
> I do not think there was any cholera aboard the steamer AMERICA when
> Clemens composed “Genius” if the date in the notebook of Dec. 21 is correct
> and that is when he did indeed write “Genius.”
> There is no indication of the cause of death of the child on Christmas Eve
> aboard the AMERICA and attributing it to cholera may be difficult to prove.
> The AMERICA arrived in Nicaragua on Dec. 28, 1866 and there encountered
> cholera. It was after Clemens boarded the SAN FRANCISCO that the cholera
> spread among the passengers and the tone of his journal entries changed.
> However ..... Notebook 7 is described as “chaotic” and without seeing how
> the pages are bound in Notebook 7, it may be difficult to conclude on just
> which leg of the journey the work was composed if those pages have been
> disbound and reinserted at a later time.
> Barb
> On Saturday, September 25, 2021, Matt Seybold <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Jocelyn & I recently wrote about this, including scans of the original
>> from Twain’s notebooks, courtesy of the Mark Twain Project:
>>> On Sep 25, 2021, at 3:53 PM, Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>> I posted this quote on Facebook without any explanation and got back
>> some curious responses.  I'm wondering if anyone can add light to
>> why-where-and/or when:
>>> "Geniuses are people who dash off weird, wild, incomprehensible poems
>> with astonishing facility, & then go & get booming drunk & sleep in the
>> gutter…people who have genius do not pay their board, as a general thing”
>>> I suspect he was reacting to someone being referred to as a genius...