MARK TWAIN’S BOOK.
Views as to Its Publication a Century Hence.
The ingenuity of Mark Twain with respect to his books has just shown itself again and in a highly interesting and novel manner. According to the latest news from him in Vienna, a new book of personal reminiscences will not be published, he says, until one hundred years after his death. Here is certainly a long time for an author to impose as a restriction on the publication of his own work; the tendency generally is to the other extreme. But if Mark Twain is in earnest, it may be that he does not wish to give readers of the present day an entire monopoly of his writings, but wishes to bequeath some of the good things to the future. The book is, according to The London Times, a bequest to posterity.
There may be some other good reason, however, for its long-delayed publication. Mark Twain boldly states that he is going to tell the truth without respect to persons, conventions, or pruderies, and that the men and women mentioned will appear “with all their warts.” It is further said that this book will not be written in Mark Twain’s familiar style, which the author anticipates will be forgotten by the time the work is published. If the style be forgotten, what will become of the author’s name toward the beginning of the twenty-first century, and will the persons and incidents mentioned by absorbingly entertaining at that time?
Mr. Arthur Scribner and a few other publishers are inclined to smile skeptically at the announcement [Note: Scribner’s remarks were followed by those of John Kendrick Bangs, Prof. Harry Thurston Peck of Columbia University, and Irving Putnam of G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Academy (London) ran a brief comment on the reminiscences Mark Twain said he was writing [Tenney 29].
An anonymous article, “Mark Twain’s Promised Biographies,” ran in Spectator, p.744-5. Tenney: “MT plans to leave Vienna soon, and according to the TIMES correspondent there, he plans to spend his remaining years on a series of utterly candid biographies of persons he has known, to be sealed and only published a hundred years after his death; this article is devoted largely to the difficulty of writing impartial biography or history” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Second Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1978 p. 171].
May 28 Sunday – The Clemens family rested at Prince of Thurn und Taxis’ country estate outside of Prague [Dolmetsch 312].
May 29 Monday – At Prince of Thurn und Taxis’ country estate outside of Prague, Clara wrote on a postcard to Frau Malvine Bree in Vienna: “Komen Sie bald nach America und besuchen Sie / Clara C.” Livy and Sam each signed the card [MTP].
The Clemens party left Prague and traveled 155 miles by rail to Nuremburg, Germany, where they spent the night. Their plans were to travel only in daytime, so it is assumed they left Prague in the a.m. This leg was about the same distance as Vienna to Prague, which took seven hours.
The New York Times, p.6 in “Topics of the Times” enlarged on the discussion of the future autobiography of Mark Twain, calling it “a most interesting controversy,” and that the “general inclination” was to be suspicious of a hoax.”
May 30 Tuesday – In the a.m., the Clemens party left Nuremburg and traveled 179 miles by rail to Cologne, Germany, where they spent the night.
The New York Times ran this article on June 11, p.19, datelined Vienna, May 30 by Dr. Johannes Horowitz: “Twain’s Farewell to Vienna,” rehashing again his audience with Emperor Franz Josef I, and his plan of killing the whole human race by depriving them of air [MTCI 339-40].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.