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Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)
Lifespan: 1835 - 1910
Related: American literature - 1800s literature
“In a way,” observed William Marion Reedy, “1601 is to Twain’s whole works what the ‘Droll Stories’ are to Balzac’s. It is better than the privately circulated ribaldry and vulgarity of Eugene Field; is, indeed, an essay in a sort of primordial humor such as we find in Rabelais, or in the plays of some of the lesser stars that drew their light from Shakespeare’s urn. It is humor or fun such as one expects, let us say, from the peasants of Thomas Hardy, outside of Hardy’s books. And, though it be filthy, it yet hath a splendor of mere animalism of good spirits... I would say it is scatalogical rather than erotic, save for one touch toward the end. Indeed, it seems more of Rabelais than of Boccaccio or Masuccio or Aretino—is brutally British rather than lasciviously latinate, as to the subjects, but sumptuous as regards the language.” --http://www.bookrags.com/ebooks/3190/12.html#8 [Jul 2006]
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was a famous and popular American humorist, writer and lecturer.
At his peak, he was probably the most popular American celebrity of his time. William Faulkner wrote he was "the first truly American writer, and all of us since are his heirs." Clemens maintained that the name "Mark Twain" came from his years on the riverboat, where two fathoms (12 ft or 3.7 m), or "safe water", was marked by calling "mark twain". But it is often thought that the name actually came from his wilder days in the West, where he would buy two drinks and tell the bartender to "mark twain" on his tab. The true origin is unknown. In addition to Mark Twain, Clemens used the pseudonym "Sieur Louis de Conte" for his fictionalized biography of Joan of Arc (1896). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain [Jul 2005]
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) - Mark Twain"....We come to see Huck...as one of the permanent symbolic figures of fiction; not unworthy to take a place with Ulysses, Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Hamlet, and other great discoveries that man has made about himself." -- T. S. Eliot
Many of Mark Twain's works have been suppressed at times for one reason or another. 1880 saw the publication of an anonymous slim volume entitled 1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors. Twain was among those rumored to be the author, but the issue was not settled until 1906, when Twain acknowledged his literary paternity of this scatological masterpiece.
Twain at least saw 1601 published during his lifetime. Twain wrote an anti-war article entitled The War Prayer during the Spanish-American War. It was submitted for publication, but on March 22, 1905, Harper's Bazaar rejected it as "not quite suited to a woman's magazine." Eight days later, Twain wrote to his friend Dan Beard, to whom he had read the story, "I don't think the prayer will be published in my time. None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth." Because he had an exclusive contract with Harper & Brothers, Mark Twain could not publish "The War Prayer" elsewhere and it remained unpublished until 1923.
In his later life Twain's family suppressed some of his work which was especially irreverent toward conventional religion, notably Letters from the Earth, which was not published until 1942. The anti-religious The Mysterious Stranger was published in 1916.
Perhaps most controversial of all was Mark Twain's 1879 humorous talk at the Stomach Club in Paris entitled Some Thoughts on the Science of Onanism (masturbation), which concluded with the thought "If you must gamble your lives sexually, don't play a lone hand too much." This talk was not published until 1943, and then only in a limited edition of fifty copies. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain#Career_overview [Jul 2005]
1601 (1880) - Mark Twain
1601 (1880) - Mark Twain [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
[Date: 1601.] Conversation, as it was the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors. or simply 1601 is the title of a humorous work by Mark Twain, first published anonymously in 1880, and finally claimed by Twain in 1906.
Written as an extract from the diary of one of Queen Elizabeth's servants, 1601 was, according to Edward Wagenknecht, "the most famous piece of pornography in American literature." It was more ribaldry than pornography, however; its content was more in the nature of irreverent and vulgar comedic shock than of "obscene" erotica. Nevertheless, in the United States, prior to the court decisions (1959-1966) that legalized the publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover, Tropic of Cancer, and Fanny Hill, the book continued to be considered unprintable, and circulated clandestinely in privately-printed, limited editions. Its characterization as "pornography" would be satirized in 1939 by Franklin J. Meine in the introduction to an edition of the work. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1601_%28Mark_Twain%29 [Feb 2005]
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