Thanks for that! It just gets worse and worse. Putin muffed it, then the
translator muffed it; then the Guardian muffed it by misquoting the
translator; then Forbes muffed it by accurately quoting the Guardian;
then Paine muffed it; then Forbes muffed it by accurately quoting Paine.
Here are the texts from each source:
Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed rumors of his allegedly
failing health on Friday, using a popular Mark Twain misquote to dismiss
“Like Mark Twain once said: ‘The rumors about my death were greatly
exaggerated,'" the despot said at the annual St. Petersburg
International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, The Guardian reported.
According to Twain biographer Albert Paine, Twain instead said, "The
report of my death has been grossly exaggerated," when asked by a
reporter about his allegedly failing health.
"The rumors about my death were largely viggerated." Viggerated? Yup,
that's what I think I heard the translator say. Hope I'm not muffing it.
Image of Mark Twain's note attached, reading " . . . the report of my
death was an exaggeration."
At least Twain got it right--unless you believe everything you read in
Well, like Twain once said: "What a bunch of idiots!"
Actually, Twain said "We are all erring creatures, and mainly idiots . .
Mac Donnell Rare Books
9307 Glenlake Drive
Austin TX 78730
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------ Original Message ------
From: "Barbara Schmidt" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 6/18/2022 8:32:06 PM
Subject: Re: Misquoting Twain
>Putin spoke the comment in Russian and then the translator did his job. The
>clip is on YouTube at --
>But what is fascinating to me is that Putin referenced Twain. Maybe
>someday some future Russian Twain scholar will examine any Twain books in
>Lenin's former library or the Kremlin for marginalia.
>On Sat, Jun 18, 2022 at 6:28 PM <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Nobody seems to be able to quote Twain accurately these days. Not war
>> criminals, not prominent magazines with paid fact-checkers . . .
>> For a good chuckle, take a look at Fortune Magazine where they take
>> Putin to task for misquoting Twain about the false report of his death.
>> Fortune "corrects" Putin by quoting Paine, which is always risky. They
>> should have gone to Barb Schmidt's website, twainquotes.com, where the
>> quote is accurately presented--in Twain's own handwriting.
>> Yes, there are several versions of the quote if you look at different
>> newspapers and read different accounts, but I'm going to go with what
>> Twain himself wrote down.
>> Mac Donnell Rare Books
>> 9307 Glenlake Drive
>> Austin TX 78730
>> Member: ABAA, ILAB, BSA
>> You can browse our books at: