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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:43:20 -0800
text/plain (249 lines)
Thanks, Sharon.  I was able to find the description of Lincoln's raft trip
from one of the links you sent  yesterday, and I could download that
section to read later.

Back in 1978, I spent a long time at the Mark Twain Papers when Fred
Anderson was there.  I'd written my thesis on Sam and Henry Clemens and
hoped I'd find more about the Pennsylvania catastrophe in his first
scrapbook.  I was right.  (I also had started a PhD there, when I returned
from the Peace Corps a decade earlier, just to be near the Mark Twain
Papers.  I'd seen the scrapbook back then, brought to me by Fred who was
probably an assistant editor then.  When I remarked how wonderful life was
with its surprises, Fred remarked that the surprises weren't always
wonderful.  When I had to drop out because my mother had a stroke, Fred
himself said you didn't need a degree to write a book.  So I never went
back for one.)  I noticed other articles in there, a burlesque biography
paralleling articles Grant's father had written about him.  I still think
Mark Twain wrote them.

Fred encouraged me to pursue that thought and another editor said if I
was serious I should write an article.  I submitted one to the MLA and
an anonymous reply (LONG after the usual period taken to assess a
submission) rejected it as "speculation."  I've always found that baffling
since  many things back then could be similarly described.  The main thing,
however, was that the subject of the biography was another columnist at the
newspaper (which, I'll admit, I didn't know) so the judge assumed Mark Twain
hadn't written it.  It was a biography written by an "uncle" and saved in
the scrapbook, so I still am convinced Mark Twain wrote them, based mostly
on internal references I recognized from other works.  There's more to be
said about the consequences at the time but I'll spare you!  Mark Twain's
subsequent relationship with Grant naturally figures into the story.

Thanks for the description of another review on the Sanborn book.  It
certainly is any easy read.

THANKS again for your comments and generosity
Arianne Laidlaw

On Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 6:37 AM, Sharon McCoy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> No worries, Arianne.  The documents of history are endlessly fascinating.
> And my apologies, all, for the gobbledygook; there is no "text-only"
> option=
>  in this email account, and my other account has some issue with the
> server=
>  that had gotten me bounced from the list since last summer.  One of these
> =
> days, I guess I'll have to cave in and get a gmail account.
> Here's a shorter link to the Illinois site, as I like things I can
> download=
>  and print, myself:
> cri/  =20
> If the email translation sticks an "=3D" or "20" at the end, just delete
> th=
> ose before pasting in a browser.
> In terms of the speculation about a Grant burlesque, an inquiry to the
> Twai=
> n Papers would probably help you explore it, Arianne.  Personally, I'd be
> s=
> urprised, though, if Twain found Grant's life an appropriate subject for
> bu=
> rlesque.  As you say, he loved biographies and he loved history -- and he
> l=
> oved burlesque -- but he usually burlesqued folly or presentation or
> skewer=
> ed dishonor or pretension.  His opinion of, and his personal, literary,
> and=
>  financial investment in Grant seem to me to be based in values he would
> no=
> t burlesque or satirize -- in his later years, in any case.  And, I
> suspect=
> , not even in his younger.  But you never know what you'll find if you
> star=
> t looking and remain open to whatever path the evidence leads to -- even,
> a=
> nd maybe especially, if it is not one you anticipated or hoped for.  The
> ve=
> ins of history are rich and deep.  And often surprising.
> In terms of the book you mention, it is not one I remember.  If you want
> to=
>  see whether it's ever been reviewed on the forum, you can go to the
> TwainW=
> eb main website and search in the archives for a review.  A quick look at
> a=
>  NYTimes review says that it draws heavily from his letters, journals, and
> =
> newspaper writings.  The reviewer there says that the book "succeeds on
> the=
>  simple principle that the best representation of Mark Twain is Twain
> himse=
> lf." (Walton, David. "In Short - Nonfiction, 22 April 1990).
> Cheers,
> Sharon
>  =20
> ________________________________________
> From: Mark Twain Forum [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Arianne
> [arianela@GM=
> Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2015 10:31 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Connection between Twain and Lincoln
> Many thanks, Sharon, for satisfying my curiosity about Abraham's trip down
> the river.  Two of the links didn't work, but the Claremont and McClure's
> links did so I now have saved the river story to read later.
> You are very kind and I profoundly appreciate your generosity.  As it
> happens, one of my speculations about Mark Twain is that he wrote a
> burlesque biography based on one about General Grant.  He certainly joked
> about Life of George Washington also mentioned in one of these articles.
> I believe we can't depend on his word for the truth of anything since he
> admits he hasn't included everything in his autobiography.   At least we
> can be sure he was a fan of biographies, his own included.
> Hoping I don't ask too much of you, is there any chance you have ever seen
> or heard of a book, -Mark Twain; The Bachelor Years,- written by Margaret
> Sanborn and published in 1990?  Our local Book Collector's Club meets
> annually in the California State Library and there were several copies of
> that book for sale there last year....AND this year!  I haven't read it
> all, but was glad to see that she focused on his relationship with his
> brother, Henry, more than I've noticed elsewhere.  I'm curious whether her
> book has been mentioned here,  The slip cover carried a positive review
> from the LA Times.
> THANKS, again,
> Arianne
> PS  Thought you might be interested in seeing how your message came
> through.  Don't know what triggers 3Ds.
> On Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 2:54 PM, Sharon McCoy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Arianne,=3D20
> >
> > The original Lincoln pamphlet has been republished multiple times, and
> yo=
> u
> > =3D
> > can read the original online (see below).  I'd join Hal and Martin in
> > cauti=3D
> > on about the CW discussion post's claims about Twain, though, as the
> > postin=3D
> > g is pretty clearly a puff piece for the new edition (the only one called
> > "=3D
> > Vote Lincoln"), which is simply the newest of several over the decades,
> > inc=3D
> > luding a U of Indiana Press edition from 1961. =3D20
> >
> > As for reading the original Lincoln story, which John Locke Scripps is
> > said=3D
> >  to have based on an autobiographical sketch that Lincoln supplied,
> > WorldCa=3D
> > t shows several libraries owning a copy, and the Claremont College
> > Librarie=3D
> > s and the University of Illinois both have archival copies of the
> origina=
> l
> > =3D
> > pamphlet available for free reading (Claremont) or download as PDF
> > (Illinoi=3D
> > s).=3D20
> >
> > Hoping that these URLs will come across without gobbledygook, but this is
> > m=3D
> > y first message to the Forum from this email account, so my fingers are
> > cro=3D
> > ssed.
> >
> > Claremont: =3D20
> >
> >
> > University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign: =3D20
> >
> >
> 0s=3D
> > cri/lifeofabrahamlin00scri.pdf
> >
> > You can also get the edition by Scripps's daughter, with printed
> > documentat=3D
> > ion of its provenance.  She'd never heard of the book when asked about it
> > i=3D
> > n the 1890s, but after extensive searching and correspondence, eventually
> > g=3D
> > ained access to four copies of the pamphlet and reprinted it in 1900.
> =3D=
> 20
> >
> > 1900 edition, Google books:=3D20
> >
> >
> >
> > You can read as an ebook on a device, or download as a PDF.
> >
> > The flatboat story was in general circulation in the 1890s, too, as
> > McClure=3D
> > 's Magazine talks about it in a piece on Lincoln (available on Project
> > Gute=3D
> > nberg, at
> >
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Sharon
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> =3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D=
> 3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D
> > =3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D=3D3D
> > Sharon D. McCoy, Ph.D.
> > Executive Coordinator, Mark Twain Circle of America
> > Editor, All Things Twain:  An Encyclopedia of Mark Twain's World
> >       (forthcoming, Greenwood/ABC-CLIO, 2016)
> > Contributing Editor, Humor in America (on hiatus)
> >
> >
> >
> > Department of English
> > University of Georgia
> > 254 Park Hall
> > Athens, GA  30602
> >
> > Office:  Park 44
> > (706) 542-1261 (messages)
> >
> > What is life but a satire of our own pretensions?
> >
> > ________________________________________=

Arianne Laidlaw A '58