In followup of the recent discussion of MT's opinion of J. Austen, I note
that several similar comments are quoted in a recently published volume
entitled "Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing", edited by Mark Dawidziak
(which contains a number of quotes and comments on literary matters by
Twain, some of which are well-recognized, and some of which will be "new"
to most readers).
>From a 1903 letter to Howells: " I've a great mind to have it out with you
about Jane Austen. If you say much more I'll come out and read Pride and
Prejudice to you."
>From Following the Equator: "Jane Austen's books, too, are absent from this
library. Just that one omission alone would make a fairly good library out
of a library that hadn't a book in it."
>From an 1898 letter to Twichell: "I haven't any right to criticize books,
and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane
Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the
reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin."
Wake Forest University