Books: Savage Vision

LETTERS FROM THE EARTH (303 pp.)— Mark Twain, edited by Bernard De Voto —Harper & Row ($5.95).

Mark Twain's dazzling Missouri humor always had hints of despair. Dark brooding crept into such cheerful works as The Innocents Abroad and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; it filled later works like The Mysterious Stranger, virtually blotting out all gaiety. The last writing Twain did, in 1909, was such a lugubrious assault on man and God that Twain's surviving daughter, Clara Samossoud, refused to let it be published. In this, she followed the half-jesting advice of Twain...

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