I know nothing about Texas steers. In my teens my brother and I broke
wild horses. You tether the horse to a post, hop on, and ride for dear
life until the horse gets used to it (or you get thrown off more than
three times). Horses destined for the glue factory could be bought at
local auctions for $35, and sold for $150 or more after they were
gentled. We quickly got that out of our systems, and after reading about
Texas steers I would not try to break one now at my age. I can barely
manage my cat, who I would not ride either.
But I would encourage someone to do a statistical analysis on this
piece. The method to be used is the "word length frequency test"--an old
and reliable method that was applied to the Quintus Curtius Snodgrass
letters in 1963 by Claude Brinegar, which disproved Twain's supposed
authorship of those letters. Cf. Journal of the American Statistical
Association 58:31 (March 1963). Claude's study was followed up by Allen
Bates in an article in AL (36:31-17, 1964). Claude died in 2009, a fun
fellow and a brilliant mind. To do such a study you need as large a
control group as possible. The good news there are plenty of
contemporaneous pieces from The Buffalo Express for comparison.
I expect to see a paper on this at Hannibal (if you are really really
fast) or Elmira.
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------ Original Message ------
From: "Mary Eden" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 2/13/2019 12:41:01 PM
Subject: Re: Rediscovered Twain Sketch?
>I am no mathematician (very far from it!), but it seems to me that if math
>can determine which Beatle wrote "In My Life," it could also determine if
>"Texas Steer" was likely written by Twain.
>On Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 1:27 PM Gregg Camfield <[log in to unmask]>
>> Hate to be the curmudgeon, but this doesn't seem to me to be Twain's
>> style. The relative infrequency of parataxis alone should be a clue, but
>> this is a style common to newspaper filler of the day. And tacking Twain's
>> name onto something to give it currency is still a common practice.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Mark Twain Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Martin Zehr
>> Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 5:57 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: Rediscovered Twain Sketch?
>> Having read the sketch, I have to say it does sound to me like something
>> Twain could have written, begging the question, when, prior to 1870, would
>> Clemens have had the opportunity to encounter a Texas steer? Perhaps he
>> transformed, or misremembered, the buffalo Bemis dealt with in Roughing
>> It. There were no cattle drives that far north when Sam and Orion
>> absquatulated west in 1861, the railroads only making them possible in
>> 1869, and the closest Sam ever got to Leavenworth, literally, that is, was
>> getting on the stagecoach with Orion in ’61, in St. Joseph, just across the
>> river. Of course, he could have just created the sketch based on someone
>> else’s reminiscences, or perhaps a few strays, vacationing in Virginia City
>> or San Francisco, had caught his attention.
>> Martin Zehr
>> Sent from Mail for Windows 10
>> From: Matthew Seybold
>> Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 4:24 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Rediscovered Twain Sketch?
>> Just posted regarding “The Texan Steer,” a sketch which originated in the
>> BUFFALO EXPRESS and circulated with Twain’s byline in 1870.
>> I’m obviously hedging my bets on whether or not it was actually written by
>> him. But in many ways it reads like him. I haven’t found anything written
>> about it anywhere. If anybody has, please alert me to it.
>> Matt S.
>> Matt Seybold
>> Assistant Professor of American Literature & Mark Twain Studies Elmira
>> College Editor, MarkTwainStudies.org MattSeybold.com
>Mary Eden, MA English
>LCMS English 8