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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 8 Jul 1996 19:45:32 -0400
text/plain (38 lines)
Anyone tempted to take the "serious charges" seriously should note the
published record conflicts with Lennon's "charges" posted in June:

Although Effie Mona Mack may believe too much of _Roughing It_, she states
that "it was in Virginia City that he became a full-fledged writer" (_M.T.
in Nevada_, 1947, p. vii).

By 1963, Bernard Taper describes _R.I._ as "semifiction" (xxi) and states
that "San Francisco and the Far West were important to Twain . . . just
how important has only in recent years been sufficiently recognized.  It
was here that . . . he entered upon his real vocation. . . . here in the
Far West it was that he can be said to have become a writer, and the kind
of writer that he was to be" (_M.T.'s San Francisco_, 1963, p. x).

California's 1973 paperback printing of _R.I._ states "There is no
corroborating evidence . . . to substantiate the story of the blind lead
in the Wide West mine" (endnote, 583) and describes the book as "primarily
. . . humorous fiction" (p. 2).  Lennon essentially "charges" that what
was already known in 1973 was stolen from her in the 1980's or 1990's.

The 1994 _R.I._ has more extensive endnotes with their sources
well-documented.  But it contains nothing linked to Lennon or her M.T.
books (which lack endnotes or other sufficient documentation of her

Nigey Lennon states in her 1982 _M.T. in California: The Turbulent
California Years of Samuel Clemens_ that "The staff of the Mark Twain
Papers project at Bancroft Library (University of California, Berkeley)
was extremely good-natured and helpful to me during my whirlwind tour of
their facilities.  Likewise, Robert H. Hirst, present editor of the Mark
Twain Papers, was very kind in giving me a copy of his thesis" (p. 6).

I'll close since I have reached a point of agreement with one of Lennon's
statements:  The staff of the Mark Twain Papers project is extremely
good-natured--even when provoked.

larry marshburne