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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
"Robert E. Stewart [log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:25:13 -0500
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Smith's book is a good read on this subject. And it's online for  free,  
use the shortcut URL:   Then 
at the book, search for Lincoln. It is, overall, an interesting book of  
antebellum Mississippi River life.
Bob Stewart
In a message dated 1/29/2015 7:41:40 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:
With  respect to Kevin's question about Mississippi literature, anyone  
ested should consult Thomas Ruys Smith's _River of Dreams: Imagining  the 
ssissippi Before Mark Twain_ (LSU Press).  Tom's research is  impeccable. =
Larry  Howe=0A=
Professor of English=0A=
Chair, Department of Literature and  Languages=0A=
Roosevelt University=0A=
Fulbright Distinguished  Chair in American Studies, Syddansk 
ense,  2014-15=0A=
From: Mark  Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Kevin Mac Donnell  
[log in to unmask]>=0A=
Sent: Thursday, January 29,  2015 9:27 AM=0A=
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Connection  between Twain and Lincoln=0A=
I agree with Larry  Howe=3DE2=3D80=3D99s fine posting I decided to go ahead 
and  =3D=0A=
send this private message to the list after reading his comment.  Being a =
private message to a colleague it=3DE2=3D80=3D99s a  little sharper in tone 
than a public message, but what the  heck. The only change I might make =3D=
is to suggest that some  might prefer a different beverage than DP.  
Mac Donnell Rare Books=0A=
9307  Glenlake Drive=0A=
Austin TX 78730=0A=
Member: ABAA,  ILAB=0A=
You may browse our books  at:=0A=
I was tempted to post  something about it to the MTF but 
ve =3D=0A=
heard  enough from me this week.=0A=
The first edition of  Howells=3DE2=3D80=3D99 Lincoln bio was 170pp. and got 
a =3D=0A=
small  circulation, although the edition size is unknown. The expanded  =3D=
edition was over 400pp. and was widely circulated (cf BAL).  Extracts may =
have appeared in newspapers; in fact  I=3DE2=3D80=3D99d be more surprised 
they  didn=3DE2=3D80=3D99t, but that=3DE2=3D80=3D99s easy enough to verify. 
Whether =3D=0A=
Lincoln=3DE2=3D80=3D99s raft story appeared in either,  or both, or neither 
of =3D=0A=
those editions I have no idea.  I=3DE2=3D80=3D99m doubtful Twain ever read 
he =3D=0A=
thing, but if  an extract with the raft story from Howells=3DE2=3D80=3D99  =
Lincoln bio (or the other one) appeared in a newspaper where  Twain was =3D=
likely to have seen it, then one could speculate.  But comparing this to 
Twain=3DE2=3D80=3D99s likelihood of  seeing Vanity Fair in Virginia City is 
comparing apples and  oranges. Just because such an extract from =3D=0A=
Howells=3DE2=3D80=3D99  Lincoln bio appeared in a city where Twain might 
e =3D=0A=
seen it  does not make it likely that he did; he had no compelling reason  =
to read every issue of every paper in every city he visited at  that time =
in his life. But in Virginia City he was a reporter  and one of his major =
chores was to scour over magazines and  newspapers from the exchange =3D=0A=
system (he used a knife instead of  scissors according to a witness) and 
there is strong evidence  that exchange files of that magazine were at =3D=
his disposal as  well as being sold from a news-stand in Virginia City. =3D=
In the  end I think it may depend on how closely the Lincoln raft story  
parallels the HF raft story. I think the more interesting  question is =3D=
what =3DE2=3D80=3D9CMississippi raft  literature=3DE2=3D80=3D9D =3DE2=3D80=
=3D93for lack of =3D=0A=
a better  name=3DE2=3D80=3D94 had appeared before HF and how it was  
and which ones Twain might have seen. If the studies  of 
9s =3D=0A=
humor in the context of southwestern  humor are valid, then a study of =3D=
=3DE2=3D80=3D9CMississippi  raft literature=3DE2=3D80=3D9D would be equally 
valid  =3D=0A=
=3DE2=3D80=3D93the evidence is no better or worse. No Davy Crockett  =3D=0A=
autobiographies or almanacs, or Sut Lovingood books survive from  =3D=0A=
Twain=3DE2=3D80=3D99s library, and I own the only annotated Artemus  Ward 
ok =3D=0A=
from Twain=3DE2=3D80=3D99s library (which  doesn=3DE2=3D80=3D99t exactly 
firm the =3D=0A=
claims of various  scholars since it=3DE2=3D80=3D99s an 1870 edition), but =
nobody  questions those influences on his writings. My reaction to all of  =
this is that instead of refusing to read others=3DE2=3D80=3D99  research or 
taking uninformed potshots at the work of others,  it would be more =3D=0A=
useful if some Twainians buckled down and started  investigating the =3D=0A=
field of =3DE2=3D80=3D9CMississippi raft  literature=3DE2=3D80=3D9D and see 
what they =3D=0A=
find. Like the  research you and I do, they could spend hours and even =3D=
days  and find nothing, or they might discover something that contributes  =
to what we know about Twain. It=3DE2=3D80=3D99s all right in  front of them 
=3DE2=3D80=3D93all they need to do is pour a Dr  Pepper, keep a pad of 
it =3D=0A=
notes at the ready, and start  typing.    =3D20=