Wed, 12 Jan 2011 11:15:21 -0600
I got the following question offline and thought the answer might be of general interest (I just clicked the send button after clipping this text, so disregard that previous snippet that I sent by accident)...
"and he either initiated or agreed to the deletion of one entire chapter about lynching from one of his books because it might hurt sales of that book in the south."
Because I'm interested in studying lynching, capital punishment, and punishment in general, I'm curious... which book? Does the deleted text still exist? If so, any ideas where I might find it?
Relying on my memory alone I conflated two very similar incidents of Twain editing his texts to suit his audience. He agreed to Osgood's deletion of chapter 48, or what would have been chapter 48, from LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI because it was critical of lynch mobs, southern laws and society, etc. Other material was deleted from this book for other reasons. It was later published as a 4pp leaflet, and I think it can now be found in a Penguin edition and some other 20th century reprints.
There is also Twain's `United States of Lyncherdom' which was his response to a horrible incident in 1901 in a Missouri town where hundreds of blacks were driven out of a town by an armed mob. Twain intended it to serve as the intro to a book he planned to publish on lynching, but thought better of it. In that case, you could say he deleted an entire book. That essay was published several times in corrupt form (heavily edited by Paine) but the MTP has produced an accurate text.
More info on all of this can be found (where else?) in Kent Rasmussen's MARK TWAIN, A LITERARY REFERENCE TO HIS LIFE AND WORK.
Hope this helps.
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