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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 29 Sep 1995 10:40:56 -0400
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Charles Crow wrote:
> According to Carl Dolmetsch, *Our Famous Guest:  Mark Twain in Vienna*,
> Clemens was actually close to fluent in German, at least by the 1890s.
> He frequently spoke in German in public appearances in Vienna.  In this
> matter, as in others, it is useful to distinguish between Clemens and his
> comic avatar, Mark Twain.
Now I'm confused.  This contradicts Robert M Rodney, _Mark Twain
Overseas_, 1993, p.100, who--apparently relying on John T. Krumpelmann's
_Mark Twain and the German Language_--states:
"During that summer [1878] he began to acquire some ability to read German
and to follow a conversation but almost no facility to speak the language.
As late as the 1890's, when he returned to Germany and resided in Vienna,
he was still making very slow progress in conversational German.  Language
barriors account for his very few appearances as a public speaker on the
Continent...a few in Austria...rarely in Germany...almost exclusively
before Anglo-American audiences.  ... For Mark Twain it [the language
barrior] was especially constricting because it isolated him from the
masses and precluded the popular reception that he enjoyed at home, in
England, and eventually throughout the British Empire."
Help?!  Has Dolmetsch discovered information that Rodney was unaware of?
larry marshburne          ([log in to unmask])