In a message dated 9/5/2006 7:00:31 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

It would  be an interesting thesis to
write about why Twain surrounded himself with  works by authors he despised
(and perhaps how the differences he saw  between himself and them shaped who
he ended up  being).

As a writer, I also keep many novels in the sub-genre  in which I write,
which seem sub-par to the best and even to my own. I think it  natural that
would have such books, and also that he'd study them, criticize  them and
them for at least an example of what not to  do.

David H  Fears