Academic journal article Mark Twain Journal

Editor's Note

Academic journal article Mark Twain Journal

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

Two feature articles in this issue deserve special notice by Mark Twain scholars and readers.

Kevin Mac Donnell, who startled the scholarly community and attracted the attention of the larger book world with a convincing theory he proposed in the Mark Twain Journal (Volume 50) about the origins of Samuel Clemens's decision to adopt his famous pen name, now brings forward a detailed study of an early romantic infatuation that Clemens experienced during his print shop days in Keokuk, Iowa. Mac Donnell's usual thoroughness is everywhere evident in this detailed essay about a girl for whom Clemens showed off his verbal skills.

Just when most of us assumed that all of Clemens's writings had finally been located and reprinted, the prominent scholar and editor Gary Scharnhorst introduces three Nevada newspaper columns that bear Clemens's unmistakable wit. Two of the columns joke about the kinds of chicanery that mining speculators often employed. Another one spars with a journalist friend. These 1862 pieces previously eluded those looking for additional examples of Clemens's newspaper contributions before he adopted his permanent pseudonym. The irony in these columns is so deliciously clever that they constitute a welcome new corner in Twain's works.

Additional articles in this Spring 2015 issue offer intriguing glimpses of other periods in Clemens's multifaceted life. Michael H. Marleau examines the little-understood months when Clemens tried to navigate the fast-closing ports along the Mississippi River in 1861. …

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