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Barbara Schmidt <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 4 Oct 2017 11:23:51 -0500
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I suspect that the NEW YORKER backstory will be the best effort to hint at
the dollars vs. ethics arguments that likely went on in the boardrooms when
John Bird's efforts were shelved.

What I did like about that NEW YORKER story was David Bradley's observation
of the historical significance of the word "oleomargarine". -- an angle
that was overlooked in this recent Random House/Steads version  In Mark
Twain's manuscript, I don't think that word was chosen because it was just
a cute word the children might enjoy rolling off their tongues.  The year
Clemens wrote the fairy tale, there were over 485 stories about
"oleomargarine" controversies in one historical newspaper database alone.
It is not that great a leap to see connections between false identities
(think PRINCE AND THE PAUPER. -- one real, one false.)  So when Clemens
wrote some of his female correspondents stating "Butter wanted ....
oleomargarine not turned away" -- he is hinting about truth vs. false
compliments.  Real royalty vs. false royalty; pretenders vs. authentic; the
list of connections with those themes in what he did publish goes on.