I don't believe there's any significant dissent regarding Paine's
of Twain's life and career, largely through omission. Paine and Clara
controlled the Twain estate, and to a certain extent, his image, at least
through the 1930s, doing their best to reinforce the Reader's Digest image
Twain as a one-sided avuncular, curmudgeonly witticism-generator and writer
the idylls of a Tom-and-Beckyland childhood.  Paine's 4-volume 1912
is certainly an adequate starting point only, but for decent, accurate and
balanced background on the enigma known to us as Twain/Clemens, you have to
read people like Dixon Wecter, Justin Kaplan, Hamlin Hill, Edgar Branch, and
the many other scholars who approached Twain/Clemens from a true biographic,
rather than hagiographic perspective. Also, what Bob Slotta said in his
message, ditto...

Martin Zehr
Kansas City, Missouri