TWAIN-L Archives

Mark Twain Forum


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Peter Salwen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 28 Mar 2023 15:32:24 -0400
text/plain (32 lines)
Have to agree with you, Scott. For some of his admirers, Twain's harsh
contempt, bordering on disgust, for American Indians is one of the most
troubling aspects of his complicated mind.

O n reflection, maybe this shouldn't be any surprise. In his western years,
Sam was still an unapologetic southern racist. His early humor, for
instance, traded freely in racist jokes and slurs -- right up till the end
of 1867, when he did a sudden about-face as he started wooing an
abolitionist's daughter.

And of course, his white associates in Nevada and California seem to have
had no respect or regard for the local Indians, and young Sam Clemens would
have had no argument with that, especially with his grandmother's  stories
deeply engrained in his memory.

Even so, there's a peculiar & enduring venom in Twain's attitude that I've
never quite been able to understand.

On Mon, Mar 27, 2023, 12:54 PM Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I recently queried about a note I found in "Heretical Fictions" on his
> apparent sympathy for "Indians" in his later decades.  I received a
> reference to a  masters Thesis from 1984 that argues he never actually
> hated Indians, he was only using them as a rhetorical device to
> criticize Western Civilization.  My opinion is that the vehemence of his
> comments belie this idea.  I posted a short essay on this on my personal
> website for those interested.
> --
> /Unaffiliated Geographer and Twain aficionado/