There are over 100 illustrations within Vol. III. I have saved most pictures of individuals for a future book in the planning stages, but sought to include here diagrams, advertisements, cartoons, insignias, Clemens residences, and a few pictures of the man himself.
As for the people in Mark Twain’s life, they deserve their own volume or two, or four. I’ve been forced to limit the information on most all but the most important of them to one or two lines, putting in birth and death years where possible, and what they were best known for, and perhaps something unusual as well. But early on I realized that each person who interacted with Twain had a unique and full story, one that cannot be fully presented here. As of this date there are biographies of several of “Twain’s People” as I would call them. And yet, there are no biographies for some important persons, such as Joseph T. Goodman, whose influence on Sam’s early deveopment as a courageous writer was surely profound. I have learned there are many more books to write.
In doing these volumes I have come to know Samuel Clemens beyond what I could discover in all the biographies or all the published volumes of his notebooks and letters. I have been asked if my views of the man have changed through doing this work. Undoubtedly. I see more sides of him now; I recognize his inconsistencies, his flaws, but also have a greater appreciation for his brilliance. I believe he would have been a great man if he had not written a line, though in what way exactly I cannot say. It is true that I am not in awe of him as I was earlier, but this by itself is not loss, but a kind of sanctification. Like Sam, I am a Westerner with Southern roots; have had the advantage of being an ass for well over xx years, and a published fiction writer, of adoring cats, and of being the father of three girls, and the husband to a woman with a heart very much like Olivia Langdon’s. If I’d lived in Sam’s day and we had known each other, I’d like to think we’d be friends. At least we might play chess, smoke a cigar and enjoy a mean game of billiards. I’d even welcome his rules, especially the one that used a kitten in one of the pockets.
David H. Fears 2011