Mark Twain Handbook

Mark Twain Handbook

Mark Twain Handbook

Mark Twain Handbook

Excerpt

Through the years a great deal of Mark Twain scholarship has accumulated. From 1940 through 1950 more items of research were published aboutSamuel Clemens than any other American author, his work is beginning to receive more serious attention abroad, and at the same time his general popularity remains secure with the reading public. But as with most major authors we find a diversity of opinion about his life and writings. My purpose has been not only to summarize Twain scholarship but to evaluate the various contributions; another objective has been to indicate what still needs to be done. For instance, there is no definitive edition of Twain's complete works; many fugitive pieces are undiscovered; full collections of his letters and speeches are yet to be made; and periods of his life, such as the years on the Mississippi and those spent abroad, await fuller investigation.

Even now important scholarship is in progress. Dr. Henry Nash Smith, literary executor of the Mark Twain Estate, is engaged upon a definitive biography; and recently a large collection of family letters, scrapbooks, and miscellany has been added to the Twain collection at the University of California, from which Dr. Smith will add to our knowledge of Mark Twain.

My research was supported in part by funds made available jointly by the Carnegie Foundation and Vanderbilt University, and I wish to thank Dr. Walter Clyde Curry for his kindness in securing this assistance for me. I am deeply grateful to the late Dixon Wecter for his many acts of friendship and his generosity in granting me ac-

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