Robert Stewart uses the question on the days of travel west by Sam and
Orion Clemens to take MTF readers down the irrelevant rabbit hole of
Stewart’s timber claim theory. The original question was answered
succinctly by others and we concur.
By stating that Roughing It was “written-to-entertain,” Stewart’s
answer intimated again that the visual environmental descriptions in
the two chapters devoted to Lake Tahoe were not based on any fact.
Stewart is bound by this veiled assertion, since none of Twain’s
environmental descriptions of his surroundings near the timber claim
site are consistent with Stewart’s proposed location on the East Shore
of Lake Tahoe.
The Lake Tahoe chapters of Roughing It are creative nonfiction, where
the writer uses the techniques of the novelist to form a story based
on real-world experience. Twain’s vivid descriptions of the distances,
geology, limnology, topography, geography, flora and fauna are all
borne out by the unique and actual physical conditions found on the
North Shore of Lake Tahoe – exactly where Twain twice wrote and told
another he was located. Of course, Roughing It is neither all true nor
all false, and each of its sketches must be evaluated objectively for
Stewart previously posted on the MTF a counter factual account of the
timber claim story based on selected excerpts from the historical
record. We are analyzing this document from the standpoints of logic
and critical thinking and will post our critique on the MTF for
readers to consider.
David C. Antonucci
Author of Fairest Picture – Mark Twain at Lake Tahoe