Books: The Ordeal of Bernard DeVoto

MARK TWAIN AT WORK—Bernard DeVoto-Harvard ($2).

The work of Mark Twain is America's literary Comstock lode and its foremost assayer is bellicose Bernard DeVoto (Mark Twain's America, 1932). As custodian of the Mark Twain Papers, Critic DeVoto has been busy since 1938 panning through an immense, theretofore jealously guarded mound of pay dirt: Mark Twain's letters, notebooks, manuscripts. Much of this haphazard heap is just rubble. But some of it is ore that assays high. And it contains clues galore to the size & shape of Mark Twain's talent, his working methods, the ambiguities...

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