The Cambridge History of American Literature/Book III/Chapter VIII
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Book III, Chapter VIII: Mark Twain
|Clarissa Rinaker Bibliography compiler|
SAMUEL LANGHORNE CLEMENS, more widely known as Mark Twain, was of the “bully breed” which Whitman had prophesied. Writing outside “the genteel tradition,” he avowedly sought to please the masses, and he was elected to his high place in American literature by a tremendous popular vote, which was justified even in the opinion of severe critics by his exhibition of a masterpiece or so not unworthy of Le Sage or Cervantes. Time will diminish his bulk as it must that of every author of twenty-five volumes; but the great public which discovered him still cherishes most of his books; and his works, his character, and his career have now, and will continue to have, in addition to their strictly literary significance, a large illustrative value, which has been happily emphasized by Albert Bigelow Paine’s admirable biography and collection of letters. Mark Twain is one of our great representative men. He is a fulfilled promise of American life. He proves the virtues of the land and the society in which he was born and fostered. He incarnates the spirit of an epoch of American history when the nation, territorially and spiritually enlarged, entered lustily upon new adventures. In the retrospect he looms for us with Whitman and Lincoln, recognizably his countrymen, out of the shadows of the Civil War, an unmistakable native son of an eager, westward-moving people—unconventional, self-reliant, mirthful, profane, realistic, cynical, boisterous, popular, tender-hearted, touched with chivalry, and permeated to the marrow of his bones with the sentiment of democratic society and with loyalty to American institutions.
By his birth at Florida, Missouri, 30 November, 1835, he was a Middle-Westerner; but by his inheritance from the restless, sanguine, unprosperous Virginian, his father, who had drifted with his family and slaves through Kentucky and Tennessee, he was a bit of a Southerner and still more of a migrant and a seeker of fortune. His boyhood he spent in the indolent semi-Southern town of Hannibal, Missouri, which, as he fondly represents it, slept for the most part like a cat in the sun, but stretched and rubbed its eyes when the Mississippi steamboats called, teasing his imagination with hints of the unexplored reaches of the river. When in 1847 his father died in poverty brightened by visions of wealth from the sale of his land in Tennessee, the son was glad to drop his lessons and go to work in the office of the Hannibal Journal. There, mainly under his visionary brother Orion, he served as printer and assistant editor for the next six years, and in verse and satirical skits made the first trials of his humour. In 1853, having promised his mother with hand on the Testament “not to throw a card or drink a drop of liquor,” he set out on an excursion into the world, and worked his way for three or four years as printer in St. Louis, New York, Philadelphia, Keokuk, and Cincinnati.
Through the winter of 1856–7 he pleased himself with a project for making his fortune by collecting cocoa at the headwaters of the Amazon; and in the spring of 1857 he actually took passage on the Paul Jones for New Orleans. But falling into conversation with the pilot, Horace Bixby, he engaged himself with characteristic impulsiveness as an apprentice to that exacting, admired, and, as it then seemed to him, magnificently salaried king of the river. In return for five hundred dollars payable out of his first wages Bixby undertook to teach him the Mississippi from New Orleans to St. Louis so that he should have it “by heart.” He mastered his twelve hundred miles of shifting current, and became a licensed pilot. In the process he acquired without the slightest consciousness of its uses his richest store of literary material.
- “In that brief, sharp schooling,” he wrote many years later, “I got personally and familiarly acquainted with all the different types of human nature that are to be found in fiction, biography, or history. When I find a well-drawn character in fiction or biography, I generally take a warm personal interest in him, for the reason that I have known him before—met him on the river.”
This chapter of his experience was ended abruptly by the outbreak of the Civil War and the closing of the river. His brief and inglorious part in the ensuing conflict he has described, with decorations, in his Private History of a Campaign that Failed, a little work which indicates that he rushed to the aid of the Confederacy without much conviction, and that two weeks later he rushed away with still less regret. Eventually, it should be remarked, General Grant became his greatest living hero, and his attitude towards slavery became as passionately Northern as that of Mrs. Stowe.
Meanwhile he went West. On 26 July, 1861, he was sitting on the mail-bags behind the six galloping horses of the overland stage headed for Carson City, Nevada, as assistant to his brother Orion, who through the good offices of a friend in Lincoln’s cabinet had been appointed Territorial secretary. On his arrival, finding himself without salary or duties, he explored the mining camps and caught the prevailing passion for huge quick wealth. First he bought “wild-cat” stock; then he located a vast timber claim on Lake Tahoe; then he tried quartz mining in the silver regions; prospected for gold in the placer country; and, in daily expectation of striking it fabulously rich, sank his brother’s salary in the most promising “leads.”
That his claims did not “pan out” well is clear from his accepting in 1862 a position as local reporter for the Virginia City Enterprise at twenty-five dollars a week, having commended himself to the editor by a series of letters signed “Josh.” Thus began his literary career. In reporting for this paper the sessions of the Legislature at Carson City he first employed the signature “Mark Twain,” a name previously used by a pilot-correspondent of the New Orleans Picayune but ultimately commemorating the leadsman’s cry on the Mississippi. His effervescent spirits, excited by the stirring and heroically convivial life of a community of pioneers, found easy outlet in the robust humour and slashing satire of frontier journalism. In 1863 Artemus Ward # spent three glorious weeks revelling with the newspaper men in Virginia City, recognized the talent of Mark Twain, and encouraged him to send his name eastward with a contribution to the New York Sunday Mercury. A duel occasioned by some journalistic vivacities resulted in his migration in 1864 to San Francisco, where in 1864 and 1865 he wrote for The Morning Call, The Golden Era, and The Californian; and fraternized with the brilliant young coterie of which Bret Harte # was recognized as the most conspicuous light. In a pocket-hunting excursion in January, 1865, he picked up a very few nuggets and the nucleus for the story of Jim Smiley and his Jumping Frog, which appeared in the New York Saturday Press in November and swiftly attained wide celebrity. In the following spring he visited the Sandwich Islands on a commission from the Sacramento Union, called upon his first king, explored the crater of Kilauea, struck up a friendship with the American ministers to China and Japan, and made a great “scoop” by interviewing a group of shipwrecked sailors in the hospital at Honolulu. Later he wrote up the story for Harper’s Magazine; his appearance there in 1866 he calls his dèbut as a literary person.
Returning to San Francisco, he made his first appearance as a humorous lecturer in a discourse on the Sandwich Islands, delivered with his sober, inimitable, irresistible drawl to a crowded and applausive house on the evening of 2 October, 1866. From this point his main course was determined. Realizing that he had a substantial literary capital, he set out to invest it so that it would in every sense of the word yield the largest returns obtainable. To the enterprise of purveying literary entertainment he, first in America, applied the wideranging vision and versatile talents of our modern men of action and captains of industry: collecting his “raw material,” distributing it around the world from the lecture platform, sending it to the daily press, reworking it into book form, inventing his own type-setting machinery, and controlling his own printing, publishing, and selling agencies. He did not foresee this all in 1866; but it must have begun to dawn.
By repeating his Sandwich Islands lecture widely in California and Nevada he provided himself with means to travel, and revisited his home, returning by way of Panama and New York. In May, 1867, he published his first book, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches, and lectured in Cooper Institute. Then on 8 June he sailed on the Quaker City for a five months’ excursion through the Mediterranean to the Holy Land, first reported in letters to The Alta-California and the New York Tribune, and immortalized by his book Innocents Abroad. On 2 February, 1870, he married his most sympathetic reader and severest censor, Olivia Langdon of Elmira, New York, a sister of one of the Quaker City pilgrims who had shown him her photograph in the Bay of Smyrna. After a brief unprofitable attempt to edit a newspaper in Buffalo, he moved in 1871 to Hartford, Connecticut, and in 1874 built there the home in which he lived for the next seventeen years.
He formed a close association with his neighbour Charles Dudley Warner #; was taken under the editorial wing of William Dean Howells # and into his intimate friendship; contributed to The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s Magazine, and The North American Review; and ultimately made some progress with such festive New Englanders as O. W. Holmes, # F. J. Child, # and T. B. Aldrich #, Books for Children]] and #; but his head was white before he became as much of a lion in Boston and New York as he had been in Carson City and San Francisco. At various times he made extended sojourns in England, Italy, France, Germany, and Austria, particularly in his later years in seasons of pecuniary retrenchment. He reaped a fortune by contracting for the publication of Grant’s Memoirs and his royalties were steadily large; but bad ventures in his publishing business, his somewhat lavish style of living, and his unperfected type-setting machine, in which he sank $200,000, pushed him finally into bankruptcy. He had extended his reputation in 1873 by lecturing for two months in London; he made a big reading tour with G. W. Cable # in 1884–5; and in 1895, at the age of sixty, disdaining the advantages of bankruptcy, he set out on a lecturing tour of the world which took on something of the aspect of a royal progress and ended in the triumphant discharge of all his obligations. Then he collected another fortune and built himself his mansion Stormfield in Redding, Connecticut.
In his last years he spent a good deal of time in New York and Washington, and a variety of causes kept him pretty steadily in the public eye as a figure of national interest: his valiant assumption of his debts, his great tour, his growing habit of commenting on public affairs, the publication of sections of his autobiography, his domestic bereavements, and the foreign tributes and honours which gradually assured his somewhat incredulous countrymen that he was a great man of letters. His first academic recognition had come from Yale University, which created him Master of Arts in 1888; in 1901 Yale and in 1902 the University of Missouri conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Letters; but the crowning academic glory fell in 1907 when the University of Oxford called him across the sea and robed him in scarlet and made him Doctor of Literature, amid, as he noted, “a very satisfactory hurrah” from the audience. On his return from a trip to the Bermudas he died 21 April, 1910.
Mark Twain’s literary independence is generally conceded. Except for a certain flavour of Dickens in The Gilded Age there is hardly an indication of any important relationship between him and modern writers. He was a lover of the elemental in the midst of the refinements of an English and an American Victorian Age. “I can’t stand George Eliot and Hawthorne and those people,” he said. “And as for ‘The Bostonians,’ I would rather be damned to John Bunyan’s heaven than read that.” Modern fiction generally impressed him as namby-pamby and artificial. Jane Austen was his pet abhorrence, but he also detested Scott, primarily for his Toryism, and he poked fun at Cooper for his inaccuracies. His taste for books was eminently masculine. The literary nourishment of his style he appears to have found chiefly in history, travel, biography, and such works of imagination as one puts on a “five-foot shelf”—Shakespeare and the Bible, Suetonius’s Lives of The Cæsars, Malory, Cellini, Don Quixote, Gil Blas, the Memoirs of Casanova, Lecky’s History of Civilization, and Carlyle’s French Revolution.
In his prose as in the verse of Whitman there is an appearance of free improvisation concealing a more or less novel and deliberate art. “So far as I know,” wrote W. D. Howells in 1901, “Mr. Clemens is the first writer to use in extended writing the fashion we all use in thinking, and to set down the thing that comes into his mind without fear or favour of the thing that went before, or the thing that may be about to follow.” Beside this assertion of a spontaneity approaching artlessness let us put Professor Matthews’s caution: “His colloquial ease should not hide from us his mastery of all the devices of rhetoric.” In a letter to Aldrich he acknowledges great indebtedness to Bret Harte, “who trimmed and trained and schooled me patiently until he changed me from an awkward utterer of coarse grotesquenesses to a writer of paragraphs and chapters that have found a certain favour in the eyes of even some of the very decentest people in the land.” Finally, let the reader who doubts whether he was conscious of his own art read carefully his little article, How to Tell a Story, beginning: “I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told, for I have been almost daily in the company of the most expert story-tellers for many years.” The art which he had learned of such American masters of oral rhetoric as Artemus Ward, John Phoenix, # and J. H. Riley he tested and developed in print and by word of mouth with constant reference to its immediate effect upon a large audience. Those principles the observance of which he found essential to holding and entertaining his public he adopted and followed; but literary “laws” which proved irrelevant to his business as entertainer of the masses he disregarded at pleasure as negligible or out of place in a democratic æsthetic. Howells calls him “the Lincoln of our literature”; and with that hint we may add that his power and limitations are alike related to his magnanimous amibition to beguile all the people all the time.
Let us begin our illustration of his literary character with a review of his five great books of travel. Against every one of them the charge might be brought that it is ill-composed: the chapters follow a certain chronological and geographical order; but the paragraphs frequently seem to owe their juxtaposition to the most casual association of ideas. This license, however, is the law and studied practice of his humour. “To bring incongruities and absurdities together in a wandering and sometimes purposeless way, and seem innocently unaware that they are absurdities, is the basis,” he declares, “of the American art.” He is speaking here specifically of the humorous story; but obviously he applies the same principle to the book of travel, which, as he conceives it, is a joyous miscellany. It is a miscellany but with ingredients preconsidered and formulable. He is as inflexible as Aristotle on the importance of choosing a great subject. He holds with the classicists that the proper study of mankind is man. He traverses in each book territory of world-wide interest. He describes what meets his eye with rapid, vivid, unconventional eloquence. He sketches the historical background in a highly personal fashion and gives to his interlarded legends an individual twist. While he imparts a good quantity of information, useful and diverting, he keeps the thread of his personal adventures spinning, rhapsodizes for a page, then clowns it for another, or introduces an elaborate burlesque on the enthusiasm of previous travellers. It is a prepared concoction.
The Innocents Abroad justified the formula on which it was constructed by selling nearly a hundred thousand copies at three dollars and a half apiece within the first three years. Its initial success was due partly to its novelty and partly to the wide interest which the excursion itself had excited. Both these advantages it has now relinquished, yet, as his biographer tells us, it remains the most popular of all Mark Twain’s travel books, and still “outsells every other book in its particular field.” Time has not reduced the rich variety of its famous topics, though time has somewhat altered the nature of curiosity with regard to the conduct of the pilgrims; but even though their type of tourist were now quite extinct one might still gratify the historical sense by acquaintance with a representative group of Americans on a tremendous picnic with spirits high in rebound from the long depression of the Civil War. One hears in the book the rollicking voice of the ex-pilot, ex-miner, the joyously insolent Western American, emancipated from all terror of the minor or Sunday-school vices, fortified by certain tolerant democratic standards of his own, well acquainted with the great American cities, equipped with ideas of natural beauty and sublimity acquired on the Mississippi, the Great Plains, the Rockies, the Pacific, the Sandwich Islands, setting out to see with his own unawed eyes how much truth there is in the reported wonders of the “little old world.” Mark Twain describes Europe and the East for men, roughly speaking, like himself. He does not undertake to tell them how they ought to look at objects of interest, but quite resolutely how these objects of interest strike a thoroughly honest Western-American eye. He is obliged to report that the barbers, billiard tables, and hotel accommodations of Paris are inferior; that the paintings of the Old Masters are often in a bad state of repair and, at best, betray to a democrat a nauseous adulation of princely patrons; that the French grisettes wear mustaches; that Vesuvius and Lake Como are nothing to Kilauea and Lake Tahoe; that priest-ridden Italy is a “museum of magnificence and misery”; and that under close inspection the glamour of the Holy Land gives way to vivid impressions of fleas, beggars, hungry dogs, sandy wastes, and the odours of camels. But this young traveller with so much of the iconoclastic Don Juan in him has also a strain of Childe Harold. For him as for Byron the deepest charm of the old world is the charm of desolation and decay, felt when the dingy palaces of Venetian doges or the ruined marbles of Athens are bathed in the moonlight. And he like Byron gains many an effect of his violent humour by the abruptness of his transitions from the sublime to the ridiculous or vice versa. He interprets, for example, with noble gravity the face of the Sphinx:
- After years of waiting, it was before me at last. The great face was so sad, so earnest, so longing, so patient. There was a dignity not of earth in its mien, and in its countenance a benignity such as never anything human wore. It was stone, but it seemed sentient. If ever image of stone thought, it was thinking. . . All who know what pathos there is in memories of days that are accomplished and faces that have vanished—albeit only a trifling score of years gone by—will have some appreciation of the pathos that dwells in those grave eyes that look so steadfastly back upon the things they knew before History was born—before Tradition had being—things that were, and forms that moved, in a vague era which even Poetry and Romance scarce know of—and passed one by one away and left the stony dreamer solitary in the midst of a strange new age, and uncomprehended scenes.
But one turns the page and comes upon the engineer who feeds his locomotive with mummies, occasionally calling out pettishly, “D—n these plebeians, they don’t burn worth a cent—pass out a king.”
In Roughing It (1872) he chose a subject doubtless less interesting to some good people of the Atlantic seaboard than a European tour—the narrative of his journey across the plains to Carson City, and his life and adventures in Nevada, California, and the Sandwich Islands. Various critics, however, have preferred it to Innocents Abroad as a truer book; and in a sense the preference is justifiable. As literal history, to be sure, or as autobiography, it is untrustworthy. Mark Twain follows his own advice to Rudyard Kipling: “Young man, first get your facts; then distort them as you please.” He distorts the facts in Roughing It, and vitalizes them by a poetical enlargement and interpretation thoroughly characteristic of native Western humour. In painting frontier manners, no longer an outsider, as he was in Europe, he abandons the attitude of one exposing illusions, and seeks to exhibit the West under the glamour of imagination. His coyote, turning with a smile upon the pursuing hound and vanishing with a “rushing sound, and the sudden splitting of a long crack in the atmosphere”—his coyote is a beast of fable; so is his jackrabbit; so is his broncho; so is his Brigham Young. On all his pioneers, his stagedrivers, his miners, his desperadoes, his boon-companions he has breathed with a heroizing emotion recollected in literary tranquillity. In the clear light of the vanished E1 Dorado of his youth they and their mountains and forests loom for him larger than common nature, more passionate, more picturesque.
A Tramp Abroad (1880) sprang from no such fund of delightful experience and mellow recollection but from an expedition to Europe deliberately undertaken in order to escape from the growing harassment of business responsibilities and to collect material for a book. Before he could work himself into a satisfactory writing mood he found it necessary to invent a new humorous attitude and literary character. His new invention has three parts. In the first place, he announces himself an enthusiastic and intrepid pedestrian but actually presents himself as a languid and timorous person travelling luxuriously with agent and courier by railway, steamboat, carriage, raft, or by any means to avoid the use of his legs. Secondly, he professes himself a devoted student of art and decorates his pages with infantile sketches. Finally, he assumes the air of a phiologist seriously studying the German language. The first of these devices he handles in many places ingeniously and pleasantly, presenting an amusing satire on the indolent middleaged tourist who climbs his Alps by telescope and gets his thrills on his hotel veranda out of the books of Edward Whymper; but in the elaborate burlesque ascent of the Riffleberg the humour becomes crudely farcical and tiresome. His drawings are not very expressive; and from their fewness it may be inferred that he discovered the fact. Some fellow phiologists have found inexhaustible satisfaction in the German legends in German-English and in the appendices treating of “the awful German language” and the German newspaper—possibly also in the violent attack on Wagnerian opera. Other favourite passages of various qualities are those dealing with the grand affair between M. Gambetta and M. Fourtou, the sunrise on Mt. Riga, and the 47-mile hunt for a sock in Chapter XIII; but the humorous jewel of the collection is “Baker’s Bluejay Yarn” in Chapter III—a trivial incident touched with imagination and related in a supremely delicious manner. The serious writing, as in the description of the Jungfrau and Heidelberg and the student duels, is so good that one wishes there were more of it.
For Life on the Mississippi (1883) Mark Twain drew again from the treasure of Western material which he had amassed before he became a professional humorist; and that distinguished connoisseur, the ex-Emperor William II of Germany, therein agreeing with the portier of the author’s lodging in Berlin, informed the author that it was his favourite American book. More strictly speaking, it is the first twenty of the fifty-five chapters that do for the Mississippi Valley what Roughing It does for the Far West, namely, invest it with the charm of recollected experience and imaginative apprehension. The latter part of the book, which might have been called “The Mississippi Revisited,” is the journalistic record of an excursion made with a stenographer in 1882; it contains interesting autobiographical notes, admirable descriptive passages, a remarkable diatribe on Sir Walter Scott for perpetuating outworn chivalry in the South, an account of a meeting with G. W. Cable and Joel Chandler Harris in New Orleans, and miscellaneous yarns and information; but it is of distinctly secondary value. Steadily throughout the first twenty chapters the writer is elate with his youthful memories of the drowsy towns by the river, the old barbaric raftsmen, the pride and power of the ancient race of pilots, and the high art and mystery of piloting those infinitely various waters in the days before the war. The moonlight, one of his characters fancies, was brighter before the war; and he himself, travelled now and acquainted with glory, has experienced, he believes, nothing so satisfying to his inmost sense as his life in that epical calling with its manly rigours, its robust hilarity, its deep, wholesome, unreflective happiness. The spirit that, years before, inspired Emerson’s blandly expressed desire to make Concord and Boston Bay as memorable as the storied places of Europe becomes in these pages clear, strong, resounding: it is the new national pride declaring the spiritual independence of America. Not in peevish envy, with no anxiety about the ultimate answer, out of his knowledge and the depths of his conviction Mark Twain cries: “What are all the rivers of Damascus to the Father of Waters?”
The material for Following the Equator (1897) he collected under the strain of debt, ill health, and the fatigues of the immense lecture-tour undertaken in 1895. In Australasia, to which the first half of the book is given, the people impress him as Englishmen democratized, that is to say, as Americans, and the cities and towns offer little noteworthy. In order to exhibit novelties he is obliged to present the history of the early settlers, the aborigines, and the fauna; and as he gets up his facts by visits to museums and hasty digestion of Australasian literature, his treatment strikes one as, for him, noticeably secondhand and uninspired. He also introduces later a good deal of “lifted” material of a vivid sort in his account of the Sepoy Mutiny, Suttee, and the Thugs—and here we may note his taste for the collection of atrocious incident. India, however, for which Kipling had sharpened his appetite, inspired him to the task of imparting his oppressed sense of her historic and scenic immensities, stricken with plagues, famines, ferocious beasts, superstitions, over-population, and swooning heat:
- a haunting sense of the myriads of human lives that have blossomed, and withered, and perished here, repeating and repeating and repeating, century after century, and age after age, the barren and meaningless process; it is this sense that gives to this forlorn, uncomely land power to speak to the spirit and make friends with it; to speak to it with a voice bitter with satire, but eloquent with melancholy.
There are satirical and witty disquisitions on imperialistic morality apropos of Madagascar, the Jameson Raid, Cecil Rhodes, and the British dealings with the Boers. The barbarity of the civilized in contact with the so-called backward peoples excites his indignation, but history and travel show him its universality and quiet his sensibilities to a state of tolerant contempt for all unregenerate mankind: “Christian governments are as frank to-day, as open and above-board, in discussing projects for raiding each other’s clothes-lines as ever they were before the Golden Rule came smiling into this inhospitable world and couldn’t get a night’s lodging anywhere.”
Mark Twain’s fiction, a large and highly diversified section of his total output, should be regarded as, hardly less than the travel books, the work of a humorist whose most characteristic form was a medley in divers keys. His critical champions used to allege that recognition of his sterling literary talent was delayed by his reputation as a creator of laughter. At the present time the danger is perhaps rather that some of his novels and tales will be unduly disparaged precisely because criticism has been persuaded to take them too seriously. With an instinct for an ingenious plot and unquestionable power of characterization within certain limits, Mark Twain sometimes lacked the ability and the patience and even the desire to carry a long piece of fiction through in the key on which he began. He would begin a story, for example, on the key of impressive realism, shift to commonplace melodrama, and end with roaring farce; and this amounts to saying that he did not himself steadily take his fiction writing seriously. He sometimes took it very lightly, like an improvising humorist; and the discords which affect the severely critical ear as blemishes probably struck his own ear as a joke. There is amusement in the most uneven of his novels if one relaxes to the point of reading it in the mixed moods in which it was written.
The most uneven of his novels is The Gilded Age, begun in collaboration with Charles Dudley Warner in February, 1873, on the spur of a dinner-table challenge, and finished in the following April. The authors were proud of their performance; and it has admirable points. The title is a masterly epigraph on the flushed, corrupt period of the Reconstruction. The stage is set as for the representation of “the great American novel,” with scenes in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis, and villages of New England and Tennessee. The plot is designed to bring typical Easterners and Westerners into diverting sentimental, financial, and political relations. There is a lively satirical play upon a wide range of clearly conceived characters and caricatures, exhibiting most of the elementary passions from love-making and fortune-hunting to bribing Congressmen and murder; and the sanguine, speculative Colonel Sellers, said to have been modelled on a relative of Mark Twain’s but certainly also modelled on Orion Clemens and on Mark Twain himself, is an American rival to Micawber. The book bristles with interesting intentions and accomplishments; yet its total effect is a bewildering dissonance of moods and styles, which fills one with regret that Mark Twain did not cut loose from his literary partner and work out by himself the story of Obedstown, Tennessee, opened by him with a rich realistic flow in the first eleven chapters. With all its demerits on its head, the novel sold forty thousand copies within a couple of months after publication, and a play built around the character of Sellers was immensely successful on the stage. Later, in collaboration with Howells, Mark Twain made a second Sellers play showing the hero aspiring to an English earldom; and this he worked over into The American Claimant (1891), a generally farcical romance streaked with admirable realistic passages. One may mention here also, as springing perhaps from experience not utterly remote from that of Sellers, Clemens’s exhibition of the effect upon character produced by expectation of unearned wealth in two capital short stories: The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg (1899) and The $30,000 Bequest (1904).
Tom Sawyer, his second extended effort in fiction and his first masterpiece, he began as a play in 1872 and published in its present form in 1876. The long incubation contributed to its unsurpassed unity of tone. But the decisive fact is that his irresponsible and frequently extravagant fancy is here held in check by a serious artistic purpose, namely, to make an essentially faithful representation of the life of a real boy intimately known to him by memory and by introspection and by those deductions of the imaginative faculty which start from a solid basis of actuality. His own boyhood, we may believe, and that of his companions in Hannibal, lives in this intensely vital narrative. It is significant of his unwonted austerity in the composition that he wrote to Howells on its completion: “It is not a boy’s book at all. It will only be read by adults. It is only written for adults.” He had some justification for feeling that his newly finished manuscript broke a long taboo. He had taken a hero who was neither a model of youthful virtues nor a horrible example but was distinguished chiefly by pluck, imagination, and vanity, and had made him leader of a group of average little Missouri rascals running loose in an ordinary small river town and displaying, among other spontaneous impulses, all the “natural cussedness” of boyhood. Furthermore he had made a central incident of a rather horrid murder. Remembering the juvenile fiction of the Sunday-school library, # he suspected that the story of these fighting, fibbing, pilfering, smoking, swearing scapegraces was not for young people. But Howells, after reading about Aunt Polly, the whitewashing of the fenee, Tom’s schoolboy love, Huck and the wart-cure, and the pirates’ island, ordered the profanity deleted, and declared it the best boy story ever written; and that was near the truth. In the two sequels Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894) and Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896), the plots are rather flimsy contrivances of the humorous fancy, but the stories are partly redeemed by the established reality of the actors and the raciness of the narrative which comes from the mouth of Huck Finn.
The Prince and the Pauper (1881), a first venture in historical romance, was deliberately written for children and tested in the process of composition on the author’s daughters. The plot, suggested by Charlotte M. Yonge’s The Prince and the Page, is fascinating to the youthful imagination; and the notion underlying it is to the older reader the most characteristic element in the book. The exchange of clothes and stations effected by Tom Canty and Prince Edward, later Edward VI, provided for the prince opportunities for feeling the common lot which the democratic author would gladly have given to all the monarchs of Europe. Occasionally writing over the heads of his audience, he utilizes the situation to express his inveterate sense of the evil of monarchical institutions and in particular his peculiarly flaming indignation at obsolete English penal laws. Humorous situations, sometimes tragically humorous, are abundant; but neither in the simple and vigorous prose of the narrative nor in the archaic style of the dialogue does one find at full strength the idiom and the first-hand observation for which one values Tom Sawyer. The Prince and the Pauper is a distinguished book in the class to which Little Lord Fauntleroy was added in 1886; but it is overshadowed by Mark Twain’s own work.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) overshadows it; but that is nothing. Huckleberry Finn exceeds even Tom Sawyer almost as clearly as Tom Sawyer exceeds The Prince and the Pauper. Mark Twain had conceived the tale in 1876 as a sequel to the story of Tom. In the course of its long gestation he had revisited the Mississippi Valley and had published his superb commemoration of his own early life on the river. He wrote his second masterpiece of Mississippi fiction with a desire to express what in Tom Sawyer he had hardly attempted, what, indeed, came slowly into his possession, his sense of the half-barbaric charm and the romantic possibilities in that grey wilderness of moving water and the rough men who trafficked on it. He had given power to the earlier story by the representation of characters and incidents which are typical of the whole of American boyhood in rural communities in many parts of the country. He gave power to Huckleberry Finn by a selection of unusual characters and extraordinary incidents which are inseparably related to and illustrative of their special environment. He shifted heroes, displacing quick-witted, imaginative Tom by the village drunkard’s son, because Huck in his hard, nonchalant, adventurous adolescence is a more distinctive product of the frontier. He changed the narrator, letting Huck tell his own story, in order to invest the entire narrative in its native garb and colour. Huck perhaps exhibits now and then a little more humour and feeling for nature than a picaro is entitled to possess; but in the main his point of view is well maintained. His strange captivity in his father’s cabin, the great flight down the river, the mysteries of fog and night and current, the colloquy on King Sollermun, the superbly incidental narrative of the Grangerford-Shepherdson feud, the appealing devotion and affectionateness of Nigger Jim, Huck’s case of conscience,—all are stamped with the peculiar comment of Huck’s earthy, callous, but not insensitive soul. The stuff and manner of the tale are unique, and it is as imperishably substantial as Robinson Crusoe, whether one admire it with Andrew Lang as “a nearly flawless gem of romance and humour” or with Professor Matthews as “a marvellously accurate portrayal of a whole civilization.”
A Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur (1889) is a work of humorous invention set in motion by G. W. Cable, who first brought Malory’s Morte d’Arthur to Mark Twain’s attention. For assignable reasons it has not had the universal admiration enjoyed by Huckleberry Finn; Andrew Lang, for example, could not bring himself to read it; yet one might plausibly argue that it represents Mark Twain more completely than any other single book on his list, and so may serve as a touchstone to distinguish those who care for the man from those who only care for some of his stories. It displays every variety of his style from the mock-heroic and shirt-sleeve journalese of the Yankee’s familiar vein to the careful euphonies of his descriptions of English landscape and the Dantean mordancy of the chapter “In the Queen’s Dungeons.” It exhibits his humour in moods from the grimmest to the gayest, mingling scenes of pathos, terror, and excruciating cruelty with hilarious comic inventions and adventures, which prove their validity for the imagination by abiding in the memory; the sewing-machine worked by the bowing hermit, the mules blushing at the jokes of the pilgrims, the expedition with Alisande, the contests with Merlin, the expedition with King Arthur, Launcelot and the bicycle squad, and the annihilation of the chivalry of England. The hero is, despite the title, no mere Yankee but Mark Twain’s “personal representative”—acquainted with the machine shops of New Haven but acquainted also with navigation on the Mississippi and with Western journalism and with the use of the lariat. The moment that he enters “the holy gloom” of history he becomes, as Mark Twain became when he went to Europe, the representative of democratic America, preaching the gospel of commonsense and practical improvement and liberty and equality and free thought inherited from Franklin, Paine, Jefferson, and Ingersoll. Those to whom Malory’s romance is a sacred book may fairly complain that the exhibition of the Arthurian realm is a brutal and libellous travesty, attributing to the legendary period of Arthur horrors which belong to medieval Spain and Italy. Mark Twain admits the charge. He takes his horrors where he finds them. His wide-sweeping satirical purpose requires a comprehensive display of human ignorance, folly, and iniquity. He must vent the flame of indignation which swept through him whenever he fixed his attention on human history—indignation against removable dirt, ignorance, injustice, and cruelty. As a radical American, he ascribed a great share of these evils to monarchy, aristocracy, and an established church, and he made his contemporary references pointed and painful to English sensibilities. A Connecticut Yankee is his Don Quixote, a sincere book, full of lifelong convictions earnestly held, a book charged with a rude iconoclastic humour, intended like the work of Cervantes to hasten the end of an obsolescent civilization. Whether it will finally be judged a great book will depend in considerable measure on factors outside itself, particularly on the prosperity of western democratic sentiment in the world at large. Since the War of the German Invasions there has been an increase of Quixotism in his sense, and what used to be considered his unnecessary rage at windmills now looks like prophetic tilting at giants.
The volume containing Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins, published in 1894, one is predisposed to value because it is another specimen from the Mississippi “lead.” It adds, however, relatively so little that is distinctive to the record that one is tempted to use it as an unsurpassable illustration of haphazard method in composition. The picture of a two-headed freak had given him the cue for a “howling farce.” When he began to write, the contemplated short story swiftly expanded, and there developed unexpectedly under his hand serious characters and a tragic situation unrelated to the initiating impulse. After long study he extracted the “farce” by “Cæsarean operation,” and appended it with amusing explanations to the “tragedy” which it had set in motion. Pudd’nhead Wilson, disfigured by vestiges of the farce in the incredible Italian twins, is, like The Gilded Age, a discordant medley with powerful character-drawing in Roxana and her half-breed son, and with a somewhat feebly indicated novelty in the philosophical detective Pudd’nhead.
The last certified claimant for a position in the front rank of the novels is Joan of Arc (1896), a romance containing as its core the ascertained facts concerning one of the most problematic figures in secular history, and as its important imaginative expansion Mark Twain’s conception of her familiar charm and his pictures of the battles and scenes of state and trials through which she passed. As in the somewhat similar case of the supernatural powers of Jesus, of which he was certainly sceptical, he says nothing to raise a doubt of the Maid’s divine assistance; he neither explained nor attempted to explain away Joan’s mystery. Her character, her Voices, and her mission he presents throughout with an air of absolute reverence and indeed at times with almost breathless adoration. For the reader in whom illusion is not destroyed by constant involuntary attention to the line where fact meets fiction the total impression is doubtless both beautiful and deeply moving. In the last section, at least, which deals with the trial and martyrdom, the most impatient reader of historical romance can hardly escape the pang of actuality; he is too near the facts. Recognizing that the book was quite out of his customary vein, Mark Twain published it first anonymously; yet in 1908 he wrote: “I like the Joan of Arc best of all my books and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; 12 years of preparation & 2 years of writing. The others needed no preparation, & got none.” This much we must admit: we are glad to have Joan of Arc on the shelf beside A Connecticut Yankee to complete our conception of that versatile and representative American whom we call Mark Twain. Without it, and its little companion-piece, In Defence of Harriet Shelley (1894), we should have a harder task to prove, against those that take him for a hard unsanctified philistine, his invincible chivalry and fineness in relation to womankind, feelings precious in a free society, and fostered, as we like to think, by a thoroughly established American tradition.
But if we value a book in proportion to its saturation with its author’s most distinctive qualities and in proportion to its power, exerted or latent, to affect the general literary current, we shall hardly rate Joan of Arc among Mark Twain’s most interesting or significant books. In its utterly reverent treatment of the traditional and the supernatural it impresses one as a counterpoise obviously unequal to the task of making a balance with the great burden of naturalistic and radically iconoclastic writing in the other scale.
Mark Twain counts as an influence because he is an innovator. The great notes of his innovation from Innocents Abroad to A Connecticut Yankee are; first, the disillusioned treatment of history; second, the fearless exploitation of “the natural man,” or, the next thing to it, “the free-born American”; and, lastly, a certain strain of naturalistic pessimism. In the first class go the foreign-travel books, The Prince and the Pauper, and A Connecticut Yankee; and the impulse properly proceeding from them is imaginative satire. In the second class go Roughing It, Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, Huckleberry Finn, Adam’s Diary, and Eve’s Diary; and from such work has proceeded an observable impulse to the cultivation of the indigenous, the elemental, the primitive, and, perhaps, the brutal and the sensual. For the third class one can glean representative paragraphs only here and there among the writings published in Mark Twain’s lifetime; but the posthumously published philosophical dialogue What is Man? (1905) and The Mysterious Stranger (1916), a romance, and some of the letters are steeped in a naturalistic melancholy and tinged with a philosophical bitterness of which American literature before Mark Twain showed hardly a trace. That strain seems likely to be influential too, and, unfortunately, not always in connection with the fine bravado of his American faith, which occasionally required an antidote to its natural insolence.
Compiled by Clarissa Rinaker
- Johnson, Merle. A Bibliography of The Work of Mark Twain, Samuel Langhorne Clemens. A List of First Editions in Book Form and of First Printings in Periodicals and Occasional Publications of His Varied Literary Activities. New York and London, 1910. [In four parts, a list of first editions of books with descriptions of volumes and contents, and lists of books containing speeches, letters, and anecdotes. With an index showing the successive publications of the items in the books listed and including articles in magazines only.]
- Henderson, Archibald. Mark Twain. London, 1911. New York, 1912. [Contains: A Bibliography of Books, Essays, and Articles Dealing with Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) 1869 (September)-1910 (September).] Paine, Albert Bigelow. Mark Twain. A Biography. The Personal and Literary Life of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. With Letters, Comments and Incidental Writings Hitherto Unpublished; Also New Episodes, Anecdotes, etc. Three Vols. New York and London, 1912. [Contains: A Chronological List of Mark Twain’s Work—Published and Otherwise. From 1851–1910. Particularly valuable for information as to the time and place of composition as well as the publication of Mark Twain’s work.]
II. COLLECTED WORKS
- Writings. Authorized Uniform Ed. 25 vols. New York and London, 1869–1910. [Several eds. from same type.] 22 vols. Hartford, 1899–1901. [Several eds.] Works. 18 vols. New York and London, n. d. [Several eds.]
III. SEPARATE WORKS
- The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches. New York, London, 1867. The Jumping Frog in English, then in French, then Clawed Back into a Civilized Language once more by Patient, Unremunerated Toil. New York and London, 1903.
- The Public to Mark Twain. 1868.
- The Innocents Abroad, or, the New Pilgrims’ Progress; being Some Account of the Steamship Quaker City’s Pleasure Excursion to Europe and the Holy Land; with Descriptions of Countries, Nations, Incidents and Adventures, as they Appeared to the Author. Hartford, Conn., 1869. English unauthorized ed. in two parts, the Innocents Abroad and The New Pilgrims’ Progress, and combined, Mark Twain’s Pleasure Trip on the Continent, 1870.
- Mark Twain’s (Burlesque) Autobiography and First Romance. 1871.
- Mark Twain’s Memoranda. From the Galaxy. Toronto, 1871.
- Eye Openers. Good Things, Immensely Funny Sayings & Stories That Will Bring a Smile upon the Gruffest Countenance. London, 1871.
- Screamers. A Gathering of Scraps of Humour, Delicious Bits, & Short Stories. London, 1871.
- Roughing It. London and Hartford, 1872. [English ed. in two parts, Roughing It and The Innocents at Home, published a little before the American ed.]
- A Curious Dream; and Other Sketches. London, 1872.
- Mark Twain’s Sketches. London, 1872.
- Practical Jokes with Artemus Ward. Including the Story of the Man who Fought Cats. By Mark Twain and other Humorists. London, 1872.
- The Choice Humorous Works of Mark Twain. Now First Collected. With Extra Passages to the “Innocents Abroad,” now first Reprinted, and A Life of the Author. London, 1873.
- The Gilded Age. A Tale of To-day. Hartford, 1874. [With Charles Dudley Warner.]
- Number One. Mark Twain’s Sketches. 1874.
- Mark Twain’s Sketches, New and Old. Now First Published in Complete Form. Hartford and Chicago, 1875.
- Old Times on the Mississippi. Toronto, 1876. [Atlantic, Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, Aug., 1875. Toronto vol. contains also A Literary Nightmare, Atlantic, Feb., 1876.]
- Information Wanted and Other Sketches. London, 1876.
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. London, Hartford, 1876.
- A True Story, and The Recent Carnival of Crime. Boston, 1877.
- Punch, Brothers, Punch! And Other Sketches. 1878.
- A Tramp Abroad. London, Hartford, 1880.
- The Prince and The Pauper. A Tale for Young People of All Ages. London, Boston, 1882.
- The Stolen White Elephant, etc. London, Boston, 1882.
- Date 1601. Conversation, As It Was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors. [Privately printed, 1882.]
- Life on the Mississippi. London, Boston, 1883. [Includes Old Times on the Mississippi, Atlantic, 1875, and Toronto, 1876.]
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer’s Comrade). Scene: The Mississippi Valley. Time: Forty to Fifty Years Ago. London, 1884. New York, 1885.
- English as She Is Taught … With a Commentary thereon by Mark Twain. London, 1887. [Commentary with a biography of the author by M. I. Lans, Boston, 1900.]
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. New York, London, 1889.
- Merry Tales. 1892.
- The American Claimant. New York, London, 1892. [First in various newspapers and in The Idler, Jan., 1892, to Jan., 1893.]
- The £1,000,000 Bank-Note and Other New Stories. New York, London, 1893.
- Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar for 1894. [1893.]
- Sawyer Abroad. By Huck Finn. Edited by Mark Twain. New York, London, 1894. [Serially in St. Nicholas, Nov., 1893, to Apr., 1894.]
- The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson and The Comedy, Those Extraordinary Twins. London, Hartford, 1894. [Serially in Century, Dec., 1893, to June, 1894.]
- Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by the Sieur Louis de Conte. Freely Translated Out of the Ancient French into Modern English from the Original Unpublished Manuscript in the National Archives of France by Jean François Alden. London, New York, 1896. [Serially in Harper’s, Apr., 1895, to Apr., 1896.]
- Tom Sawyer Abroad, Tom Sawyer, Detective, and Other Stories, Etc., Etc. 1896. [Tom Sawyer, Detective, in Harper’s, Aug., Sept., 1896.]
- Tom Sawyer, Detective, As Told by Huck Finn, and Other Tales. London, 1897.
- How to Tell a Story, and Other Essays. 1897. Another ed. with additions, Hartford, 1900.
- Following the Equator. A Journey Around the World. Hartford, 1897. London ed. as More Tramps Abroad, 1897.
- Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. The Great Procession of June 22, 1897, in the Queen’s Honour, Reported Both in The Light of History, and as A Spectacle. Privately printed for private distribution only. [1897?]
- The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, and Other Stories and Essays. New York. London, 1900. Leipzig, 1900.
- To the Person Sitting in Darkness. Reprinted by permission from The North American Review, February, 1901.
- Edmund Burke on Croker & Tammany. 1901.
- A Double Barrelled Detective Story. New York and London, 1902. [First in Harper’s, Jan., Feb., 1902.] Leipzig, 1902.
- My Début as a Literary Person, with Other Essays and Stories. Hartford, 1903.
- “A Dog’s Tale.” Reprinted by permission from Harper’s Magazine, Christmas Number, 1903. Printed for the National Anti-vivisection Society, 1903. [Limited to less than fifty copies.] New York and London, 1904.
- Extracts from Adam’s Diary Translated from The Original MS. New York and London, 1904. [In The Niagara Book, 1893.]
- King Leopold’s Soliloquy. A Defense of His Congo Rule. Boston, 1905.
- Eve’s Diary: Translated from The Original MS. London and New York, 1906.
- What Is Man? 1906.
- The $30,000 Bequest, and Other Stories. New York and London, 1906.
- A Horse’s Tale. New York and London, 1906. [Reprinted from Harper’s, Aug., Sept., 1906, for private distribution.]
- Christian Science, with Notes Containing Corrections to Date. New York and London, 1907. [First in North American Review, Dec., 1902, Jan., Feb., and Apr., 1903.]
- Is Shakespeare Dead? From My Autobiography. New York and London, 1909.
- Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven. New York and London, 1909. [First in Harper’s, Dec., 1907, and Jan., 1908.]
- The Mysterious Stranger. New York and London, 1916. [Serially in Harper’s, May-Nov., 1916.]
- What Is Man? and Other Essays. New York and London, 1917.
- In Defense of Harriet Shelley, and Other Essays. New York and London, 1918.
- Mark Twain’s Speeches. With an Introduction by William Dean Howells. New York and London, 1910.
- Mark Twain’s Letters. 1917. 2 vols. Ed. Paine, A. B.
- The Curious Republic of Gondour and Other Whimsical Sketches. 1919.
- Chapters from My Autobiography. North American Review. Sept., 1906-Dec., 1909.
- My Platonic Sweetheart. Harper’s, Dec., 1912.
- Mark Twain’s War Map. North American Review. June, 1915. [From Buffalo Express, 17 Sept., 1870.]
IV. BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM
- Haweis, H. R. Mark Twain. American Humorists. 1882.
- Bolton, S. K. Mark Twain. Famous American Authors. 1887.
- Brooks, Van Wyck. The Ordeal of Mark Twain. 1920.
- Clark, C. H. Mark Twain. Authors at Home, ed. Gilder, J. L. and J. B. 1888.
- Clemens, Will M. Mark Twain. His Life and Work. A Biographical Sketch. San Francisco, 1892.
- Vedder, H. C. Mark Twain. American Writers of To-day. 1894.
- Matthews, B. Of Mark Twain’s Best Story. Books and Play-Books. London, 1895.
- Mark Twain. Warner’s Library of The World’s Best Literature, vol. VII. 1897.
- Pond, J. B. Mark Twain. Eccentricities of Genius. London, 1900.
- Mark Twain: A Biographical Sketch. How to Tell a Story and Other Essays. Hartford, 1900.
- Lautréc, Gabriel de. Introduction to Contes Choisis de Mark Twain. Paris, 1900.
- Mann, Max. Mark Twain. Biographical Introduction to A Tramp Abroad. Leipzig, 1901.
- Harkins, E. F. Mark Twain. Little Pilgrimages Among the Men Who Have Written Famous Books. Boston, 1902.
- Stoddard, C. W. A Humorist Abroad. Exits and Entrances: A Book of Essays and Sketches. Boston [1903?].
- Mark Twain’s Seventieth Birthday; Record of a Dinner Given in His Honour, etc. 1905.
- Johnson, C. Mark Twain’s Country. Highways and Byways of The Mississippi Valley. 1906.
- Chapters from My Autobiography. North American Review. Sept., 1906-Dec., 1907.
- Matthews, B. Mark Twain. A Biographical Criticism. Inquiries and Opinions. 1907. Reprinted from Mark Twain’s Works, 1899, vol. 1.
- Watson, Aaron. Artemus Ward and Mark Twain, Mark Twain’s Own Account. The Savage Club. London, 1907.
- Sedgwick, H. D. Mark Twain. The New American Type and Other Essays. Boston, 1908.
- Howells, W. D. My Mark Twain. Reminiscences and Criticism. New York and London, 1910. [Reprinted from My Memories of Mark Twain, Harper’s, July-Sept., 1910, and miscellaneous criticisms in various magazines, 1869–1901.]
- Phelps, W. L. Mark Twain. Essays on Modern Novelists. 1910.
- Mark Twain Numbers of Book News Monthly, Bookman [New York], Bookman [London], June, 1910.
- “Britannicus.” England and Mark Twain. North American Review, June, 1910.
- Tributes to Mark Twain. Ibid.
- The Originals of Some of Mark Twain’s Characters. Review of Reviews. Aug., 1910.
- News for Bibliophiles. [Notes on Johnson’s bibliography.] Nation, 22 Sept., and 22 Dec., 1910.
- Mark Twain, In Memoriam. Harper’s Weekly, 17 Dec., 1910.
- White, F. M. Mark Twain as A Newspaper Reporter. Outlook, 24 Dec., 1910.
- Campbell, K. From Æsop to Mark Twain: The Gellert Story. Sewanee Review, Jan., 1911.
- Henderson, Archibald. Mark Twain, 1912. [Includes material published in various articles on Mark Twain in Harper’s, North American Review, etc.]
- Paine, Albert Bigelow. Mark Twain. A Biography. The Personal and Literary Life of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Three vols. New York and London, 1912. [Includes material published in several articles on Mark Twain in Harper’s and other magazines.]
- Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home In Hannibal, Missouri…. Hannibal, 1912.
- Cheiro [Leigh Warner]. [Story of the Origin of Pudd’nhead Wilson.] Memoirs. 1912.
- Macy, John. Mark Twain. The Spirit of American Literature. 1913.
- Mark Twain As a Publisher. Bookman, Jan., 1913.
- Howells, W. D. [Review of Paine’s Life of Mark Twain.] Editor’s Easy Chair. Harper’s, Jan., 1913.
- Carus, P. Mark Twain’s Philosophy. Monist, April, 1913.
- Millard, B. When They Were Twenty-one. Bookman, May, 1913.
- Burton, R. Mark Twain. Little Essays in Literature and Life. 1914.
- Phelps, W. L. Notes on Mark Twain. Essays on Books. 1914.
- Ticknor, C. Mark Twain’s Missing Chapter. Bookman, May, 1914.
- Street, J. In Mizzoura. Collier’s, 29 Aug., 1914.
- Captain Horace E. Bixby. (Who Taught Mark Twain How to Pilot.) New England Magazine, April, 1915.
- Corey, W. A. Memories of Mark Twain. Overland, Sept., 1915.
- Paine, A. B. A Boy’s Life of Mark Twain. 1916. [Serially in St. Nicholas, Nov., 1915-Oct., 1916.] A Short Life of Mark Twain. 1920.
- Bowen, E. W. Mark Twain. South Atlantic Quarterly. July, 1916.
- Capitalizing Mark Twain. [“Patience Worth’s” alleged Mark Twain story, Jap Herron.] Literary Digest, 14 Oct., 1916.
- Paine, A. B. Mark Twain’s Letters, Arranged with Comment. Two vols. New York and London. 1917. [Some of these letters were published in Harper’s, May, July-Nov., 1917.]
- Shuster, G. N. The Tragedy of Mark Twain. Catholic World, March, 1917.
- Wyatt, E. An Inspired Critic. North American Review, April, 1917.
- White, E. Mark Twain’s Printer Days. Overland, Dec., 1917.
- Sherman, S. P. The Democracy of Mark Twain. On Contemporary Literature. 1917.
- Howells, W. D. [Review of Mark Twain’s Letters.] Editor’s Easy Chair, Harper’s, Mar., 1918.
- Mark Twain’s Unedited and Unpublished Satire. 3,000 Years Among the Microbes. Current Opinion. July, 1918.
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.
The author died in 1926, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.