TWAIN-L Archives

Mark Twain Forum


Options: Use Classic View

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

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

Print Reply
Jim Zwick <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 30 Sep 2007 23:09:35 -0500
text/plain (44 lines)

Twain's writings about the Dreyfus Affair in France might be of interest.
Capt. Alfred Dreyfus was a French military officer who was convicted of
treason on flimsy evidence in 1894. Later, it became obvious that
someone else had committed the crime, but Dreyfus was found guilty
again at his retrial. In "Our Famous Guest": Mark Twain in Vienna (Univ.
of Georgia Press, 1992) Carl Dolmetsch, explains that many in France
"doggedly insisted Dreyfus could not be absolved of suspicion, whatever
the facts, because, as a Jew, he could never be loyal to France or any
other nation." Twain wrote about the case in "Concerning the Jews,"
"From the 'London Times' of 1904," "My Boyhood Dreams," "My First Lie
and How I Got Out of It," "The Studendous Procession," and probably in
other writings of the late 1890s and early 1900s. Dolmetsch notes that
"references to the Dreyfus affair permeate almost everything Mark
Twain wrote in Vienna." Dolmetsch's book is definitely the best starting
point for looking into that because of the rich context it provides related
to Twain's life and experiences in Vienna.

Terry Oggel's critical text of "The United States of Lyncherdom" is
another important source.  It and the related articles about can be found

Oggel, L. Terry. "Speaking Out about Race: ‘The United States of
Lyncherdom' Clemens Really Wrote," Prospects: An Annual of American
Cultural Studies 25 (2000): 115-138.

Twain, Mark. "The United States of Lyncherdom," Prospects: An Annual
of American Cultural Studies 25 (2000): 139-150.

Budd, Louis J. "Afterward: Mark Twain and the Sense of Racism,"
Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies 25 (2000): 151-158.

The critical text is significantly different than the version edited by
Bigelow Paine for inclusion in Europe and Elsewhere and includes
references to a court case in New Jersey that will be useful in assessig
his views on legal justice. The critical text was reviewed for the Forum
when it was published. The review is online at:

Jim Zwick