Newly Published Mark Twain Essay, ‘Concerning the Interview’

Essay by Mark Twain on being interviewed, published for the first time by PBS NewsHour.

No one likes to be interviewed, and yet no one likes to say no; for interviewers are courteous and gentle-mannered, even when they come to destroy. I must not be understood to mean that they ever come consciously to destroy or are aware afterward that they have destroyed; no, I think their attitude is more that of the cyclone, which comes with the gracious purpose of cooling off a sweltering village, and is not aware, afterward, that it has done that village anything but a favor.

07.08.2010Tagged with:    

Mark Twain’s Autobiography

For the last decade of his life, Mark Twain was at work on his personal memoirs, but he left handwritten notes expressing his wish that they not be published until a century after his death. There is some debate as to why the author wanted to let so much time pass.

“He had doubts about God, and in the autobiography, he questions the imperial mission of the US in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. He’s also critical of [Theodore] Roosevelt, and takes the view that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel. Twain also disliked sending Christian missionaries to Africa. He said they had enough business to be getting on with at home: with lynching going on in the South, he thought they should try to convert the heathens down there.”

In other sections of the autobiography, Twain makes cruel observations about his supposed friends, acquaintances and one of his landladies.

Twain died in 1910, so whatever the reason Twain had for the delay, his complete autobiography is finally going to be published. The University of California, Berkeley, will publish the work in three volumes, the first of which will be released in November.

06.02.2010Tagged with: