Frank Norris’s The Responsibilitiesof the Novelist, and Other Literary Essays, contained a section, “An American School of Fiction?” p.193-200. Tenney: “Dismisses the major American writers one by one as either not true novelists, or insufficiently American. ‘But as the novelists, as such, are under consideration, even Mark Twain may be left out of the discussion. American to the core, posterity will yet know him not as a novel-writer, but as a humorist’ (p.196)” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Second Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1978 p. 173].
1903 ca. – Paine puts “about 1903” to Sam’s essay, “The Recurrent Major and Minor Compliment,” which Tuckey writes, “conveys his sense of his own representative experience of the nightmare of human history” [Fables of Man 430-3].
January – The North American Review included the second installment of Mark Twain’s series, “Christian Science II” (p.1-9) written in 1897-8 in Vienna. The installments ran monthly From Dec. 1902 through the Apr. 1903 issue. A book would result from these articles, though Harpers would delay it till 1907.
Review of Reviews (London) ran an anonymous article, “Will Christian Science Rule the World?” and “The Future of Christian Science” p.35-6 and (March p.280). Tenney: “Summaries of articles by MT in North American Review, December, 1902 and March, 1903” .
Atlantic Monthly, p. 141-3 ran the “Contributor’s Club,” which included two unsigned sketches, “Such as Mother Used to Make,” and “A Song Composed in a Dream.” Wells gives opinions of George Monteiro and Hamlin Hill which suggest that Mark Twain is the author of the second piece .
Critic, p. 3 ran a brief anonymous item on Mark Twain’s 67th birthday celebration the previous November. Tenney: “MT ‘is in fine form—that he was never in better form than he is to-day. He is on the top wave of his popularity, and has every reason to be a happy man, except one vital one—the illness of his wife.’ Facing (p.2), portrait: ‘Mark Twain at Sixty-Seven (after the pastel drawn from life by Mr. Everett Shinn and never before published).’” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 188].
Helen Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life (1903). See Mar. 10, 1903 entry.
Sam signed a copy of William Henry Drummond’s The Habitant, and Other French-Canadian Poems
(1902): “S.L. Clemens, Riverdale, Jan. 1903” [Gribben 204].
Sam also inscribed his photo to Dr. Henry Moffat. On top: “To Dr. Moffatt—this, with the kindest regards of S.L. Clemens.” Below the photo he added an aphorism from “Puddn’head Wilson’s Calendar”: “Adam was but human — that explains it all. He didn’t eat the apple for the apple’s sake, but only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent: then he would have eaten the serpent. / Truly yours, Mark Twain”
Rev. Minot Judson Savage wrote to Sam and enclosed a copy of his 1902 book, Can Telepathy Explain? Results of Psychical Research: Sam inscribed the book: “From Minot J. Savage. / Riverdale, Jan. 1903. / S.L. Clemens” [Gribben 604; MTP]. Note: Savage had incited a theological dispute on Dec. 21, 1902 when he taught that Jesus Christ was not divine and that the Virgin Birth was myth. In Book II, ch. 7 of Christian Science, Sam referred to this “warm dispute.”
January 1 Thursday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam added to his long Dec. 31 letter to Joe Twichell:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.