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Mark Twain
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A Connecticut Yankee 1872-1891
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Twain and His Books
 
 
Portrait, 1870s
Portrait, 1870s
Courtesy of The Mark Twain Project, Bancroft Library, Berkeley

“There has never been a time in the past thirty-five years when my literary shipyard hadn’t two or more half-finished ships on the ways, neglected and baking in the sun; generally there have been three or four; at present there are five...As long as a book would write itself I was a faithful and interested amanuensis and my industry did not flag, but the minute that book tried to shift to my head the labor of contriving its situations, inventing its adventures and conducting its conversations, I put it away and dropped it out of my mind.”—Mark Twain, Autobiography, posthumous

 
 
It takes a heap of sense to write good nonsense. Mark Twain, Notebooks and Journals, 1879
Manuscript from Tom Sawyer, Chapter 6, page 125
Manuscript from Tom Sawyer,
Chapter 6, page 125

Courtesy of The Mark Twain
Project, Bancroft Library, Berkeley
Video Real Video: 56k | 220k  
Hamilin Hill,
“My Books
are Water”
 

 
 

“But the truth is, that when a Library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected youth and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn’t anger me.”—Mark Twain, Letter to Mrs. Whitmore, 1907

 
 
My books are water: those of the great geniuses are wine. Everybody drinks water. Mark Twain. Notebooks and Journals, 1885
Plot Outline for Huckleberry FinnPlot Outline for Huckleberry Finn
Courtesy of The Mark Twain Project,
Bancroft Library, Berkeley

“When the [Tom Sawyer] manuscript had lain in a pigeonhole two years I took it out one day and read the last chapter that I had written. It was then that I made the great discovery that when the tank runs dry you’ve only to leave it alone and it will fill up again in time, while you are asleep—also while you are at work at other things and are quite unaware that this unconscious and profitable cerebration is going on. There was plenty of material now and the book went on and finished itself without any trouble.”—Mark Twain, Autobiography, posthumous

 
 
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