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Sat, 1 May 2010 17:36:17 -0500
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Lawrence Howe <[log in to unmask]>
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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That's great.  I had figured out from your clues that it was Horace, but my google searching didn't come up with anything, and I hadn't tracked the weep part of your clue.  I was tickled to hear the answer.  I can imagine most of his contemporaries waxing poetic at great length in the their answers, only to have his pithy response trump them all. 

I look forward to your next puzzle.  This should be a regular feature of the forum, not all the time given how much it would absorb your energy, but quarterly wouldn't be too much to ask of you. 


From: Mark Twain Forum [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Kevin Mac Donnell [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2010 4:20 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Contest Over!

Mark Twain's Shortest Publishing Writing...

With no correct answers, I've decided to declare the contest over.

The correct answer is YES.

Here's the context---

The magazine, The Critic, sent a question out to a number of authors =
posing a question based on a maxim by Horace in DE ARTE POETICA LIBER: =
"Is it necessary that an author who wishes his readers to weep should =
first weep himself?"

Twain's reply, in a letter from Hartford dated March 9, 1888, was simply =
"Yes" and appeared in the March 24, 1888 issue of the magazine (p. 136) =
along with replies from many other authors, all of whom gave longer =
replies, some bordering on short essays. Among the bloviators were =
Edward Eggleston, Edward Everett Hale, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Frances =
Hodgson Burnett, Thomas Janvier, George W. Cable, Howard Pyle, Brander =
Matthews, George Parsons Lathrop, Frank R. Stockton, and others. Quite a =
few of these other authors were friends of Twain. To modern eyes, the =
question posed might seem maudlin, but it was posed at the height of =
American realism, and had genuine contemporary relevance. After all, a =
few years later Stephen Crane wrote a war story without having fought in =
battle himself. Twain's reply could have been shorter if he'd replied in =
the negative, but his affirmative reply should not be surprising =
considering that his greatest works were largely autobiographical, drawn =
from the people and places and events he'd experienced himself. All Mark =
Twain Forum members probably share a regret that he did not explain his =
answer. For the full text of the article and replying letters in The =
Critic, go to Google Books and search the keywords "Twain Horace weep =
Critic" and enjoy.

I've still got this extra copy of WHO IS MARK TWAIN? and if somebody has =
an idea for a contest question, let me know...

Mac Donnell Rare Books
9307 Glenlake Drive
Austin TX 78730
Member: ABAA, ILAB
You may browse our books at=20



Mac Donnell Rare Books
9307 Glenlake Drive
Austin TX 78730
Member: ABAA, ILAB
You may browse our books at=20