Dangerous Intimacy: The Untold Story of Mark Twain's Final Years

Dangerous Intimacy: The Untold Story of Mark Twain's Final Years

Dangerous Intimacy: The Untold Story of Mark Twain's Final Years

Dangerous Intimacy: The Untold Story of Mark Twain's Final Years

Synopsis

"Lystra gives her readers a sense of being participants in Twain's relationships with these interesting people, so sensitive is her reconstruction of their lives. Her book is an extraordinary achievement."--Robert Middlekauff, author of "Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies

""Lystra provides fresh archival information on the last years of Jean Clemens, Mark Twain's youngest daughter."--Laura Skandera Trombley, author of "Mark Twain in the Company of Women"

Excerpt

In 1895 Mark Twain was one of the most famous men in the world. At the age of sixty, he was celebrated as the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and other novels for adults and children as well as a great number of short stories and nonfiction sketches and articles. He was perhaps equally renowned as a lecturer, a second—and sometimes more lucrative—career he had pursued in parallel with his writing since the 1860s. Twain held strong views on many issues, from anti-imperialism to copyrights for authors. His opinion was constantly in demand, and he never hesitated to offer it. He knew a long list of celebrities, including Bram Stoker, Bret Harte, Ulysses S. Grant, P. T. Barnum, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and James Whistler. He had also met, among many others, Robert Browning, Lewis Carroll, Charles Darwin, Rudyard Kipling, William James, Grover Cleveland, Winston Churchill, and the Prince of Wales.

In both his lectures and his written works, Twain seemed to capture a quintessentially American spirit, a mix of sly humor, cynicism, affirmation, and plain speech that felt both unique and universal and that captivated audiences in the United States and Europe. With his extroverted nature and his evident enjoyment of life and his own performance in it, he managed to combine pessimism and optimism in such a way that people often missed—or could choose to miss—the depth of the bite beneath the laughter. This, one suspects, just made Mark Twain that much more popular. Shrewd enough to observe that “My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine. Everybody drinks water, ”

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.