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"Kevin. Mac Donnell" <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 10 Sep 2006 13:23:44 -0500
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Barb has this exactly right. Drury, which I think is the best book on
Norton, makes his arguement in the Prologue, but the rest of his very
entertaining and informative book would seem to undercut this thesis. Norton
was a harmless delusional "character" and was nearly universally loved for
it. The King was a crook and the town's reaction to him was something a few
degrees higher than warm regard. One parallel that can be made is that Twain
had deep sympathies for both Norton I and the King. Also, some of the
illustrations of the King by E W Kemble (see esp.  p. 174 in HF) rather
resemble some portraits of Norton I, and one of Kemble's drawings of the
King (the one that appears at p. 174 of the first ed.) was used on the
poster issued to advertise HF in San Francisco where Norton I would have
been instantly recognized by his loyal and bemused "subjects." That drawing
was not used on the poster issued for the east coast. Still, it seems a
tenuous "fit" --although intriguing. CLEMENS OF THE CALL and EARLY TALES AND
SKETCHES have Twain's contemporary writings about Norton I, and would be a
place to start building the case.

Did your friend tell you about the money issued by Norton I? One of his
banknotes had a woodcut portrait of Norton himself in one corner, and in the
other corner the portrait of a well-known San Francisco hooker. We now live
in a day when we tolerate Presidents on our money.

Kevin Mac Donnell
Austin TX