Books: Twain at His Worst

Relatives of Mark Twain last week began giving the world a new, important and frequently unflattering load of Twainiana. The Atlantic Monthly published the first of four articles based on letters (they go back to 1853 when Twain was 18) which Samuel Langhorne Clemens wrote to members of his family and to his onetime publishing partner, Charles L. Webster.* They often show Twain at his worst—techy, cussed, filled with distrust of his fellows, a domineering egotist. They also often show him in full comical steam. In sum, they make the difficult man a...

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