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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Hal Bush <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:39:56 -0600
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Hi, sorry about any confusion, let alone controversy.  Allow me to clarify
my clarification:

I think I was just trying to quickly list a bunch of facts about recent
presidents that most educated Americans know about.  the football
announcing part about Reagan probably says more about my sports fanaticism
than anything.

I was trying to think of what we might call standard parts of the legend;
elements of a mythic account of an iconic person that most people know

I believe most Americans would have known that Abe was a "rail-splitter,"
because it was part of the mythos.  Same with his trips down the river,
whether on a raft, a flatboat, or a  jet ski.

It was in fact a flatboat; it is also mentioned in Lincoln's third (and by
far the longest) of his 3 autobiographical statements [1860], all 3 of
which are reprinted in my book LINCOLN IN HIS OWN TIME, (p. 51). That last
autobiography was printed in June 1860 in the Chicago Press and Tribune.
Not every American, but most literate Americans would have known these
elements of the legend, especially someone like Twain who himself had some
rather famous connections with the river.

I could be wrong about it.  But the flatboat scenes kept showing up, over
and over, in later accounts of Lincoln, so I suspect it became a standard
touchstone fairly rapidly.  (many of these later accounts are also
reprinted in the LINCOLN book listed above.)

best regards, -hb

On Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 1:29 PM, Arianne <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Sharon:
> Links worked!  Fascinating details.  The SIZE of some of these
> astonishes me.  Thanks for the information.
Prof. Harold K. Bush
Professor of English
3800 Lindell
Saint Louis University
St. Louis, MO  63108
314-977-3616 (w); 314-771-6795 (h)