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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Lloyd J Grant <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 21 Jul 2001 03:18:57 -0400
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Wesley, thank you also.  Your remarks are germaine to my own thinking.
Perhaps it may be said that those who would define genius will never suffer
from it.  None-the-less, those who appreciate it will always have a home
under its' roof.

It was not the intention of my question to provoke a discussion, but if it
has, it is a welcome one.  I am cautious, having been cautioned when I
joined the forum, not to ask unresearched questions.  As a neophyte to the
group, and an uneducated one to boot, I do not wish to over-play my hand.

I now have more books to read than time to read them, but I have saved every
reference with gratitude and humility.

Kindest regards,
Lloyd Grant.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Wesley Britton" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2001 8:05 PM
Subject: Re: Biographer

> If memory serves, Delancy Ferguson published a Twain bio in the 1970s
> MARK TWAIN: MAN AND MYTH. In my edition, he added an introduction in which
> he said many of his colleagues praised this book, but asked when he was
> going to write a "definitive biography." He replied he thought he already
> had.
> Outside of Clemens' own AUTOBIOGRAPHY, we have yet to have a "definitive"
> one-volume biography which is an important statement about Our Author.  We
> have been blessed with many books covering specific periods and many
> biographies" which trace Twain's writing or personal development through
> specific prisms.  A few years back, one writer claimed to be writing the
> long overdue "definitive" bio, but sadly added interpretative material
> eroded its usefulness.  There are many good books on the early years (I'd
> choose Emerson's AUTHENTIC MARK TWAIN), many on the middle years (sure,
> Kaplan's is readable and reliable), and, despite some problems, Ham Hill's
> MARK TWAIN: GOD'S FOOL is still the best on the final years.
> With this in mind, perhaps it's time to consider a major project akin to
> Oxford writings set in which a "definitive" bio could be put together in
> several volumes with sections from the best of what we have.  Rather than
> hoping one scholar can bring it all together, maybe an anthology of
> would be the most expansive and inclusive way to go . . .
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2001 2:09 PM
> Subject: Re: Biographer
> Lloyd:
> You've received many good suggestions.
> While I much prefer reading Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain
> by Justin Kaplan, at some point you may want to jump in
> on Mark Twain, A Biography by Albert Bigelow Paine.
> It's in three volumes. Some of the details will both aggravate
> you and reward you.  And, he has an annoying habit of relating
> incidents and then saying something like, "but we need not go
> into that here."
> Yet, he was at Twain's side in the final years.  As an authorized,
> first-hand account it's the best we have.  Keep in mind that he
> and Twain's daughter Clara co-conspired to keep his memory
> as lily-white as one of his suits -- so don't expect "the dark side
> of the moon."
> Good luck to you.
> Roger Durrett