1. So. Good. If you haven’t read Volume 2 of Mark Twain’s autobiography, we might not be able to be friends.

     
  2. theparisreview:

    “I am not worrying about whether you will love my future wife or not—if you know her twenty-four hours & then don’t love her, you will accomplish what nobody else has ever succeeded in doing since she was born. She just naturally drops into everybody’s affections that comes across her. My prophecy was correct. She said she never could or would love me—but she set herself the task of making a Christian of me. I said she would succeed, but that in the meantime she would unwittingly dig a matrimonial pit & end up tumbling into it—& lo! the prophecy is fulfilled. She was in New York a day or two ago, & George Wiley & his wife Clara know her now. Pump them, if you want to. You shall see her before very long.”

    An excerpt from Mark Twain’s engagement announcement to his family, which will be auctioned by Bonhams.

    Now that’s how you announce an engagement:

    "This is to inform you that on yesterday, the 4th of February, I was duly & solemnly & irrevocably engaged to be married to Miss Olivia L. Langdon, of Elmira, New York. Amen. She is the best girl in all the world, & the most sensible, & I am just as proud of her as I can be."

    (via prairielights)

     
  3. travelingbookgirl:

    Powell’s City of Books- Portland, OR

    Based on their love for the underground and the outlaw writer, Allison Bruns and Chris Haberman made duo portraits (one from each artist) of 25 of their favorite American authors, including Mark Twain, Charles Bukowski, Ken Kesey, Flannery O’Connor, Oregon’s Ursula Le Guin, and many more. Each artist’s unique and colorful style was worked from the same photograph, bringing their own voices to the images of these celebrated literary icons.

    Check out their exhibit at Powell’s City of Books before we change it out on June 6 (First Thursday): http://powells.us/12M3BB9

     

  4. “Don’t you know what that is? It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want ― oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” ― Mark Twain (http://powells.us/11I5mip)

     
  5. scribnerbooks:

    Oh my.

    explore-blog:

    Oh hello there, Mark Twain, you shirtless hunk. Perhaps, after all, Twain wasn’t talking just about the art of writing when he advised to “employ a simple and straightforward style.”

    "There is nothing in the world like persuasive speech to fuddle the mental apparatus" - Mark Twain.
    (Except, perhaps, this photo.)

    (Source: )

     
  6. Palace of St. Nicholas.
    In the Moon.
    Christmas Morning.

    My dear Susie Clemens:

    I have received and read all the letters which you and your little sister have written me by the hand of your mother and your nurses; I have also read those which you little people have written me with your own hands—for although you did not use any characters that are in grown peoples’ alphabet, you used the characters that all children in all lands on earth and in the twinkling stars use; and as all my subjects in the moon are children and use no character but that, you will easily understand that I can read your and your baby sister’s jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all. But I had trouble with those letters which you dictated through your mother and the nurses, for I am a foreigner and cannot read English writing well. You will find that I made no mistakes about the things which you and the baby ordered in your own letters—I went down your chimney at midnight when you were asleep and delivered them all myself—and kissed both of you, too, because you are good children, well trained, nice mannered, and about the most obedient little people I ever saw. But in the letter which you dictated there were some words which I could not make out for certain, and one or two small orders which I could not fill because we ran out of stock. Our last lot of kitchen furniture for dolls has just gone to a very poor little child in the North Star away up, in the cold country above the Big Dipper. Your mama can show you that star and you will say: “Little Snow Flake,” (for that is the child’s name) “I’m glad you got that furniture, for you need it more than I.” That is, you must write that, with your own hand, and Snow Flake will write you an answer. If you only spoke it she wouldn’t hear you. Make your letter light and thin, for the distance is great and the postage very heavy.

    There was a word or two in your mama’s letter which I couldn’t be certain of. I took it to be “trunk full of doll’s clothes.” Is that it? I will call at your kitchen door about nine o’clock this morning to inquire. But I must not see anybody and I must not speak to anybody but you. When the kitchen doorbell rings, George must be blindfolded and sent to open the door. Then he must go back to the dining room or the china closet and take the cook with him. You must tell George he must walk on tiptoe and not speak—otherwise he will die someday. Then you must go up to the nursery and stand on a chair or the nurse’s bed and put your ear to the speaking tube that leads down to the kitchen and when I whistle through it you must speak in the tube and say, “Welcome, Santa Claus!” Then I will ask whether it was a trunk you ordered or not. If you say it was, I shall ask you what color you want the trunk to be. Your mama will help you to name a nice color and then you must tell me every single thing in detail which you want the trunk to contain. Then when I say “Good bye and a merry Christmas to my little Susie Clemens,” you must say “Good bye, good old Santa Claus, I thank you very much and please tell that little Snow Flake I will look at her star tonight and she must look down here—I will be right in the west bay window; and every fine night I will look at her star and say, ‘I know somebody up there and like her, too.’” Then you must go down into the library and make George close all the doors that open into the main hall, and everybody must keep still for a little while. I will go to the moon and get those things and in a few minutes I will come down the chimney that belongs to the fireplace that is in the hall—if it is a trunk you want—because I couldn’t get such a thing as a trunk down the nursery chimney, you know.

    People may talk if they want, until they hear my footsteps in the hall. Then you tell them to keep quiet a little while till I go back up the chimney. Maybe you will not hear my footsteps at all—so you may go now and then and peep through the dining-room doors, and by and by you will see that thing which you want, right under the piano in the drawing room-for I shall put it there. If I should leave any snow in the hall, you must tell George to sweep it into the fireplace, for I haven’t time to do such things. George must not use a broom, but a rag—else he will die someday. You must watch George and not let him run into danger. If my boot should leave a stain on the marble, George must not holystone it away. Leave it there always in memory of my visit; and whenever you look at it or show it to anybody you must let it remind you to be a good little girl. Whenever you are naughty and somebody points to that mark which your good old Santa Claus’s boot made on the marble, what will you say, little sweetheart?

    Goodbye for a few minutes, till I come down to the world and ring the kitchen door-bell.

    Your loving

    Santa Claus

    Whom people sometimes call “The Man in the Moon”

    A letter from Mark Twain to his daughter Susie on December 25, 1875. Excerpted from Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children by Dorie Mccull Lawson

    (Source: powells)

     
  7. martinaboone:

    In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.

    ~ Mark Twain

    (via teachingliteracy)

     

  8. Michiko Kakutani on the “revised” Huck Finn.

    "Haven’t we learned by now that removing books from the curriculum just deprives children of exposure to classic works of literature? Worse, it relieves teachers of the fundamental responsibility of putting such books in context — of helping students understand that “Huckleberry Finn” actually stands as a powerful indictment of slavery (with Nigger Jim its most noble character), of using its contested language as an opportunity to explore the painful complexities of race relations in this country. To censor or redact books on school reading lists is a form of denial: shutting the door on harsh historical realities — whitewashing them or pretending they do not exist"

    Read the rest of her piece over at NYT.com.