Academic journal article Mark Twain Journal

Mark Twain and the Levant Herald

Academic journal article Mark Twain Journal

Mark Twain and the Levant Herald

Article excerpt

Chapter 34 of Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad ( 1869) describes his visit to Constantinople, or modern Istanbul. Twain mentions a beleaguered local English-language newspaper, the Levant Herald. It occurred to me, why not go to the U.S. Library of Congress downtown and see if they have it?

They did. It was on microfilm, and went all the way from its first issue on January 5,1859 to its conclusion sometime between May 29 and July 24,1878.

The Levant Herald, it turned out, was an eight-page weekly newspaper published every Wednesday. It actually took note of the Quaker City's arrival in the August 21,1867, issue, on the fifth page: "The steam yacht Quaker City arrived in the Golden Horn on Friday last [August 16, 1867], from the coast of Italy with sixty-six American excursionists, among whom are. ..

The newspaper listed several names at this point, but not Mark Twain. It did mention a Colonel "Denney," obviously Twain's friend Colonel William Denny. The Levant Herald concluded the paragraph: "On Monday [August 19, 1867] she left for the Crimea, and is to return on Saturday [August 24, 1867], when she will proceed to Smyrna, Beyrout [sic], and Jaffa for the Holy Land."

In his book Twain wrote that the Levant Herald often got into trouble with the Sultan over reports on a revolt in Crete. Crete was indeed being reported in almost every issue just then. Many citizens of Crete were seeking independence from the Ottoman Turkish Empire. The Editor had already been fined and even imprisoned on previous occasions, Twain noted. On June 26, 1867, in fact, the Levant Herald announced "the absence of the principal Editor," though it did not say why. …

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