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22 mars 2012 4 22 /03 /mars /2012 04:02



Before 1899 Twain was an ardent imperialist. In the late 1860s and early 1870s he spoke out strongly in favor of American interests in the Hawaiian Islands.[68] In the mid-1890s he explained later, he was "a red-hot imperialist. I wanted the American eagle to go screaming over the Pacific."[69] Sony VPCCW16FG/R Battery

He said the war with Spain in 1898 was "the worthiest" war ever fought.[70] In 1899 he reversed course, and from 1901, soon after his return from Europe, until his death in 1910, Sony VPCCW16FG/W Battery

Twain was vice-president of the American Anti-Imperialist League,[71] which opposed the annexation of the Philippines by the United States and had "tens of thousands of members."[25] Sony VPCCW18FG/B Battery

He wrote many political pamphlets for the organization. The Incident in the Philippines, posthumously published in 1924, was in response to the Moro Crater Massacre, Sony VPCCW19FJ Battery

in which six hundred Moros were killed. Many of his neglected and previously uncollected writings on anti-imperialism appeared for the first time in book form in 1992.[71] Sony VPCCW18FJ Battery


Twain was critical of imperialism in other countries as well. In Following the Equator, Twain expresses "hatred and condemnation of imperialism of all stripes."[25] He was highly critical of European imperialism, notably of Cecil Rhodes, Sony VPCCW1AFJ Battery

who greatly expanded the British Empire, and of Leopold II, King of the Belgians.[25] King Leopold's Soliloquy is a stinging political satire about his private colony, the Congo Free State. Reports of outrageous exploitation and grotesque abuses led to widespread international protest in the early 1900s, Sony VPCCW1AGG/B Battery

arguably the first large-scale human rights movement. In the soliloquy, the King argues that bringing Christianity to the country outweighs a little starvation. Leopold's rubber gatherers were tortured, maimed and slaughtered, until the movement forced Brussels to call a halt.[72][73] Sony VPCCW1AHJ Battery


During the Philippine-American War, Twain wrote a short pacifist story entitled The War Prayer, which makes the point that humanism and Christianity's preaching of love are incompatible with the conduct of war. Sony VPCCW1BGN/BU Battery

It was submitted to Harper's Bazaar for publication, but on March 22, 1905 the magazine rejected the story as "not quite suited to a woman's magazine." Eight days later, Twain wrote to his friend Daniel Carter Beard, to whom he had read the story, Sony VPCCW1FFX/L Battery

"I don't think the prayer will be published in my time. None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth." Because he had an exclusive contract with Harper & Brothers, Twain could not publish The War Prayer elsewhere; it remained unpublished until 1923. It was republished as campaigning material by Vietnam War protesters.[25] Sony VPCCW1S1E Battery


Twain acknowledged he originally sympathized with the more moderate Girondins of the French Revolution and then shifted his sympathies to the more radical Sansculottes, indeed identifying as "a Marat." Sony VPCCW1ZEG/BU Battery

Twain supported the revolutionaries in Russia against the reformists, arguing that the Tsar must be got rid of, by violent means, because peaceful ones would not work.[74] He summed up his views of revolutions in the following statement: Sony VPCCW1ZEH/BU Battery


Civil rights

Twain was an adamant supporter of abolition and emancipation, even going so far to say “Lincoln's Proclamation ... not only set the black slaves free, but set the white man free also.”[76] Sony VPCCW21FX/B Battery

He argued that non-whites did not receive justice in the United States, once saying “I have seen Chinamen abused and maltreated in all the mean, cowardly ways possible to the invention of a degraded nature.... Sony VPCCW21FX/L Battery

but I never saw a Chinaman righted in a court of justice for wrongs thus done to him.”[77] He paid for at least one black person to attend Yale University Law School and for another black person to attend a southern university to become a minister.[78] Sony VPCCW21FX/R Battery


Mark Twain was a staunch supporter of women's rights and an active campaigner for women's suffrage. His "Votes for Women" speech, in which he pressed for the granting of voting rights to women, is considered one of the most famous in history.[79] Sony VPCCW21FX/W Battery


Helen Keller benefited from Twain's support, as she pursued her college education and publishing, despite her disabilities and financial limitations.

Twain's views on race were not reflected in his early sketches of Native Americans. Of them, Twain wrote in 1870:Sony VPCCW26FA/B Battery


As counterpoint, Twain's essay on "The Literary Offenses of Fenimore Cooper" offers a much kinder view of Indians.[56] "No, other Indians would have noticed these things, but Cooper's Indians never notice anything. Sony VPCCW26FA/L Battery

Cooper thinks they are marvelous creatures for noticing, but he was almost always in error about his Indians. There was seldom a sane one among them."[81] In his later travelogue Following the Equator (1897), Sony VPCCW26FA/P Battery

Twain observes that in colonized lands all over the world, "savages" have always been wronged by "whites" in the most merciless ways, such as "robbery, humiliation, and slow, slow murder, Sony VPCCW26FA/R Battery

through poverty and the white man's whiskey"; his conclusion is that "there are many humorous things in this world; among them the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages."[82] Sony VPCCW26FA/W Battery



Twain wrote glowingly about unions in the riverboating industry in Life on the Mississippi, which was read in union halls decades later.[83] He supported the labor movement, especially one of the most important unions, the Knights of Labor.[25] In a speech to them, he said: Sony VPCCW26FG/B Battery


Who are the oppressors? The few: the King, the capitalist, and a handful of other overseers and superintendents. Who are the oppressed? The many: the nations of the earth; the valuable personages; the workers; they that make the bread that the soft-handed and idle eat.[84] Sony VPCCW26FG/L Battery



Twain was opposed to the vivisection practices of his day. His objection was not on a scientific basis but rather an ethical one. He specifically cited the pain caused to the animal as his basis of his opposition.[85] Sony VPCCW26FG/P Battery


I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't. ... The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further. Sony VPCCW26FG/R Battery



Although Twain was a Presbyterian, he was sometimes critical of organized religion and certain elements of Christianity through his later life. He wrote, for example, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so," Sony VPCCW26FG/W Battery

and "If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be – a Christian."[86] Nonetheless, as a mature adult he engaged in religious discussions and attended services, his theology developing as he wrestled with the deaths of loved ones and his own mortality.[87] Sony VPCCW26FH/B Battery

His own experiences and suffering of his family made him particularly critical of "faith healing," such as espoused by Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science. His more inflammatory works on religion require a nuanced understanding of his theological arguments and criticism.[87] Sony VPCCW26FH/L Battery


Twain generally avoided publishing his most heretical opinions on religion in his lifetime, and they are known from essays and stories that were published later. In the essay Three Statements of the Eighties in the 1880s, Sony VPCCW26FH/P Battery

Twain stated that he believed in an almighty God, but not in any messages, revelations, holy scriptures such as the Bible, Providence, or retribution in the afterlife. He did state that "the goodness, Sony VPCCW26FH/R Battery

the justice, and the mercy of God are manifested in His works," but also that "the universe is governed by strict and immutable laws," which determine "small matters," such as who dies in a pestilence.[88] Sony VPCCW26FH/W Battery

At other times he wrote or spoke in ways that contradicted a strict deist view, for example, plainly professing a belief in Providence.[89] In some later writings in the 1890s, he was less optimistic about the goodness of God, Sony VPCCW26FX/B Battery

observing that "if our Maker is all-powerful for good or evil, He is not in His right mind." At other times, he conjectured sardonically that perhaps God had created the world with all its tortures for some purpose of His own, but was otherwise indifferent to humanity, which was too petty and insignificant to deserve His attention anyway.[90]Sony VPCCW28FG/B Battery

In 1901 Twain criticized the actions of missionary Dr. William Scott Ament (1851–1909) because Ament and other missionaries had collected indemnities from Chinese subjects in the aftermath of the Boxer Uprising of 1900. Sony VPCCW28FJ/P Battery

Twain's response to hearing of Ament's methods was published in the North American Review in February 1901:To the Person Sitting in Darkness, and deals with examples of imperialism in China, South Africa, Sony VPCCW28FJ/R Battery

and with the U.S. occupation of the Philippines.[91] A subsequent article, "To My Missionary Critics" published inThe North American Review in April 1901, unapologetically continues his attack, but with the focus shifted from Ament to his missionary superiors, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.[92] Sony VPCCW28FJ/W Battery


After his death, Twain's family suppressed some of his work that was especially irreverent toward conventional religion, notably Letters from the Earth, which was not published until his daughter Clara reversed her position in 1962 in response to Soviet propaganda about the withholding.[93] Sony VPCCW29FJ Battery

The anti-religious The Mysterious Stranger was published in 1916. Little Bessie, a story ridiculing Christianity, was first published in the 1972 collection Mark Twain's Fables of Man.[94] Sony VPCCW2AFJ Battery


Despite these views, he raised money to build a Presbyterian Church in Nevada in 1864, although it has been argued that it was only by his association with his Presbyterian brother that he did that.[95] Sony VPCCW2AGG/B Battery


Twain created a reverent portrayal of Joan of Arc, a subject over which he had obsessed for forty years, studied for a dozen years and spent two years writing.[96] In 1900 and again in 1908, he stated, "I like Joan of Arc best of all my books, it is the best." [96][97] Sony VPCCW2AHJ Battery


Those who knew Twain well late in life recount that he dwelt on the subject of the afterlife, his daughter Clara saying: "Sometimes he believed death ended everything, but most of the time he felt sure of a life beyond."[98] Sony VPCCW2BGN/BU Battery


Mark Twain's frankest views on religion appeared in his final Autobiography, which was published 100 years after his death, in November 2010. In it, he said,[99] Sony VPCCW2MFX/PU Battery


Pen names

Twain used different pen names before deciding on "'Mark Twain". He signed humorous and imaginative sketches as "Josh" until 1863. Additionally, he used the pen name "Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass" for a series of humorous letters.[102] Sony VPCCW2S1E Battery


He maintained that his primary pen name came from his years working on Mississippi riverboats, where two fathoms, a depth indicating safe water for passage of boat, was measured on the sounding line. Sony VPCCW2S5C Battery

Twain is an archaic term for "two". The riverboatman's cry was "mark twain" or, more fully, "by the mark twain", meaning "according to the mark [on the line], [the depth is] two [fathoms]," that is, "The water is 12 feet (3.7 m) deep and it is safe to pass." Sony VPCCW2S5C CN1 Battery


Twain claimed that his famous pen name was not entirely his invention. In Life on the Mississippi, he wrote: Sony VPCCW2Z1E/B Battery


Captain Isaiah Sellers was not of literary turn or capacity, but he used to jot down brief paragraphs of plain practical information about the river, and sign them "MARK TWAIN," Sony VPCF115FG/B Battery

and give them to the New Orleans Picayune. They related to the stage and condition of the river, and were accurate and valuable; ... At the time that the telegraph brought the news of his death, Sony VPCF116FGBI Battery

I was on the Pacific coast. I was a fresh new journalist, and needed a nom de guerre; so I confiscated the ancient mariner's discarded one, and have done my best to make it remain what it was in his hands –Sony VPCF117FJ Battery

a sign and symbol and warrant that whatever is found in its company may be gambled on as being the petrified truth; how I have succeeded, it would not be modest in me to say.[103] Sony VPCF117HG/BI Battery


Twain's story about his pen name has been questioned by biographer George Williams III,[104] the Territorial Enterprise newspaper,[105] and Purdue University's Paul Fatout.[106] The claim is that "mark twain" refers to a running bar tab that Twain would regularly incur while drinking at John Piper's saloon in Virginia City, Nevada. Sony VPCF118FJ Battery



Twain's legacy lives on today as his namesakes continue to multiply. Several schools are named after him, including Mark Twain Elementary School in Houston, Texas, which has a statue of Twain sitting on a bench, and Mark Twain Intermediate School in New York. Sony VPCF119FC Battery

There are several schools named Mark Twain Middle School in different states, as well as Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, near San Antonio, Texas. There are also other structures, such as the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge. Sony VPCF119FJ Battery


Mark Twain Village is a United States Army installation located in the Südstadt district of Heidelberg, Germany. It is one of two American bases in the United States Army Garrison Heidelberg that house American soldiers and their families (the other being Patrick Henry Village). Sony VPCF11AFJ Battery


Awards in his name proliferate. In 1998, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts created the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, awarded annually. Sony VPCF11AGJ Battery

The Mark Twain Award is an award given annually to a book for children in grades four through eight by the Missouri Association of School Librarians. Stetson University in DeLand, Sony VPCF11AHJ Battery

Florida sponsors the Mark Twain Young Authors' Workshop each summer in collaboration with the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal. The program is open to young authors in grades five through eight.[107] The museum sponsors the Mark Twain Creative Teaching Award.[108] Sony VPCF11JFX/B Battery


Buildings associated with Twain, including some of his many homes, have been preserved as museums. His birthplace is preserved in Florida, Missouri. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Sony VPCF11M1E Battery

Missouri preserves the setting for some of the author's best known work. The home of childhood friend Laura Hawkins, said to be the inspiration for his fictional character Becky Thatcher, is preserved as the "Thatcher House."Sony VPCF11M1E/H Battery

In May 2007, a painstaking reconstruction of the home of Tom Blankenship, the inspiration for Huckleberry Finn, was opened to the public. The family home he had built in Hartford, Connecticut, where he and his wife raised their three daughters, is preserved and open to visitors as the Mark Twain House. Sony VPCF11S1E Battery


Asteroid 2362 Mark Twain was named after him.

On December 4, 1985, the United States Postal Service issued a stamped envelope for "Mark Twain and Halley's Comet," noting the connection with Twain's birth, his death, and the comet.[109] On June 25, 2011, the Postal Service released a Forever stamp in his honor.[110] Sony VPCF11Z1E Battery


Twain is often depicted wearing a white suit. While there is evidence that suggests that, after Livy's death in 1904, Twain began wearing white suits on the lecture circuit, modern representations suggesting that he wore them throughout his life are unfounded. Sony VPCF11ZHJ Battery

However, there is evidence of him wearing a white suit before 1904. In 1882, he sent a photograph of himself in a white suit to 18-year-old Edward W. Bok, later publisher of the Ladies Home Journal, with a handwritten dated note on verso. It did eventually become his trademark, Sony VPCF127FJ/W Battery

as illustrated in anecdotes about this eccentricity (such as the time he wore a white summer suit to a Congressional hearing during the winter).[32] McMasters' The Mark Twain Encyclopedia states that Twain did not wear a white suit in his last three years, except at one banquet speech.[111] Sony VPCF127HGBI Battery


Actor Hal Holbrook created a one-man show called Mark Twain Tonight, which he has performed regularly for about 57 years.[112] The broadcast by CBS in 1967 won him an Emmy Award. Of the three runs on Broadway (1966, 1977, and 2005), the first won him a Tony Award. Sony VPCF128FJ/B Battery


Life and work

He was born in Ogden, Utah. He attended the University of Utah for one year, then transferred to Harvard University, but interrupted his education to serve in World War I, graduating in 1920. Sony VPCF129FJ/BI Battery


He began his career in 1922 as an English instructor at Northwestern University and began to write articles and novels, which often provoked controversy for their liberal viewpoint. Sometimes he used the pseudonyms "John August" and "Cady Hewes." In 1927, Sony VPCF12AFJ Battery

DeVoto resigned from Northwestern and moved to Massachusetts with his wife Avis. He began to dedicate himself to serious writing along with part-time instructing at Harvard. He wrote frequent articles for periodicals, with a regular column, "The Easy Chair," in Harper's Magazine from 1935 until his death. Sony VPCF12AGJ Battery


DeVoto became an authority on Mark Twain and served as a curator and editor for Twain's papers. From 1936 to 1938 he lived in New York City, where he was editor of the Saturday Review of Literature, after which he returned to Massachusetts. Sony VPCF12AHJ Battery


In 1936, DeVoto published "Genius is Not Enough," a review of Thomas Wolfe's The Story of a Novel (1936), in which he wrote that Wolfe's work was "hacked and shaped and compressed into something resembling a novel by Mr. Perkins and the assembly-line at Scribners. Sony VPCF135FG Battery

"[1] The effect of this essay on Wolfe's self-confidence was perhaps the greatest influence on his cutting ties with Scribners and editor Maxwell Perkins shortly before his death in 1938.[2] Sony VPCF135FG/B Battery


In DeVoto's later years, he gained fame for his popular histories of the West: The Year of Decision: 1846 (1943),Across the Wide Missouri (1947), The Course of Empire (1952), and a popular abridged edition of The Journals of Lewis and Clark (1953). Sony VPCF136FG/BI Battery

Across the Wide Missouri won the Pulitzer Prize for History[3] and The Course of Empire won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.[4] From the 1940s to the end of his life, he was renowned for his championing of public lands and of conservation of natural resources, and for his pugnacious defense of civil liberties.Sony VPCF137HG/BI Battery


His wife Avis DeVoto was a book reviewer, editor, and avid cook. She became friends with Julia Child, the future author of cookbooks and host of television cooking demonstrations. Sony VPCF138FC/BI Battery

Child had written a fan letter to Bernard DeVoto regarding an article of his in Harper's Magazine; he had said that he detested stainless steel knives, which she thought "100% right". Sony VPCF138FJ/B Battery

Avis's response began a long correspondence and friendship between the two women during Child's work on her groundbreaking Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961). Child acknowledged Avis as "wet nurse" and "mentor" to the undertaking. Sony VPCF139FJ/BI Battery

Their correspondence is held in the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, and selections appeared in the book, As Always, Julia (2010)[5] Sony VPCF13AFJ Battery


His and Avis' son Mark DeVoto is a music theorist, composer, and retired professor at Tufts University. Sony VPCF13AGJ Battery

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