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Taylor Roberts <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 6 Apr 1993 19:22:22 PDT
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     Regarding Shelley Fisher Fishkin's _Was Huck Black?: Mark Twain and
African-American Voices_, I notice that Thomas Tenney's _MT: A Reference
Guide_ contains a single reference to Twain's "Sociable Jimmy," which is
the sketch in the _New York Times_ (29 November 1874) on which Fishkin
bases her claim that Huck's speech was modelled after a black person or

     Tenney's reference (1943:B11) is "An Important Question Settled,"
_Twainian_, n.s., II (February 1943), 1-5.  Unfortunately, I don't have
easy access to the _Twainian_, but according to Tenney's summary, this
article is in part about "Sociable Jimmy," which it says is "attributed
to MT in an unidentified clipping in a scrapbook purchased by Irving S.
Underhill."  Does anyone know whether this clipping is the same as the
sketch as it appeared in the _NY Times_?  Or was the clipping from
another newspaper?  Was there any marginalia with the clipping?  I think
I recall that the _NY Times_ printed Twain's name as the author, so I'm
not sure why the _Twainian_ would have merely "attributed" the sketch to

     More generally, does anyone know if Oxford UP has published
Fishkin's book yet?  As a linguist, I'm anxious to see what kind of
evidence she adduces for her claim.  The general description in the _NY
Times_ (7 July 1992) didn't impress me very much, so I'm interested to
see if Fishkin makes a more convincing case in her book.

Taylor Roberts
University of British Columbia