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Barbara Schmidt <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 25 Sep 2021 16:10:13 -0500
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This quote is from a longer passage that appeared in MARK TWAIN’S NOTEBOOKS
AND JOURNALS, vol 1, 1855-1873. It is from Notebook 7, written
Dec.1866-Jan. 1867.  Clemens was onboard the steamer AMERICA sailing from
California to Nicaragua under the command of Edgar Wakeman. The “Genius”
passage was written right after an entry for Dec. 21, 1866. The editors of
this volume have attempted to present the passage as it was finally
intended but the passage shows many revisions and the editors concede the
entire notebook is “chaotic.” A few days prior to the “Genius” entry
Clemens remarked that he was reading at night, but does not identify what
he was reading. Whether the passage was inspired by what he was reading or
from obversations of someone onboard the boat or something or someone else
is left unanswered.


On Saturday, September 25, 2021, Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]>

> I posted this quote on Facebook without any explanation and got back some
> curious responses.  I'm wondering if anyone can add light to
> why-where-and/or when:
> "Geniuses are people who dash off weird, wild, incomprehensible poems with
> astonishing facility, & then go & get booming drunk & sleep in the
> gutter…people who have genius do not pay their board, as a general thing”
> I suspect he was reacting to someone being referred to as a genius...