SAMUEL L. "MARK TWAIN" CLEMENS - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 01/01/1876 - HFSID 5037
Sale Price $2,550.00
MARK TWAIN WANTS TO WRITE A FEW ARTICLES IN "THE NEW & POPULAR LOW-COMEDY VEIN" CALLED SCROFULOUS HUMOR.
SAMUEL L. CLEMENS (MARK TWAIN). Autograph Letter Signed: "Mark" in pencil on verso of 3x5 postal card. Hartford, New Year's .To William Dean Howells.In full: "Howells, I would like to write a few articles for the Atlantic in the new & popular low low-comedy vein called [glue stain obliterates next line] if they would be acceptable. Happy New Year's. Yrs Ever". Addressed by Twain on verso to: "W.D. Howell Esq/37 Concord Avenue/Cambrdige/Mass." in pencil. Lightly soiled. Glue stains at blank left margin of verso and at center portion touch 1 word of writing. Ink smudge at blank right margin of letter side. Stray ink mark to left of imprinted one-cent postage. Overall, fine condition. Accompanied by TLS: "Robert H. Hirst", General Editor, Mark Twain Project, University of California, Berkeley, 1p, 8½x11. Berkeley, 1983 August 29. In full: "Thank you for allowing me to read your Mark Twain postcard dated 'Hartford, New Year's.' I think I can furnish you with some background on it. The date is 1 January 1876. The addressee is, of course, Mark Twain's good friend William Dean Howells, the eminent critic, novelist, and editor of the Atlantic Monthly. The card is typical of the warm and often high-spirited personal and professional relationship the two writers enjoyed for almost forty years. It was during Howell's editorship that, in 1874, Mark Twain made his first contribution to the Atlantic Monthly, which went on to publish some of his most important short works, among others the 'Old Times on the Mississippi' series (January-June, August 1875) that he later expanded into Life on the Mississippi (1883), one of his best-known works. Fortunately, the words lost when this postcard was damaged are supplied by Howell's 4 January 1876 response: 'Yes, my dear old fellow, on Scrofulous Humor or any other comic subject.' 'Scrofulous Humor' was indeed an unlikely topic for the high-tone Atlantic Monthly. Only Mark Twain could have suggested it. I was very pleased to see this postcard, which captures Mark Twain at his antic best. It is particularly interesting and valuable because, previously unknown, it fills a gap in the extant and extensive Mark Twain-William Dean Howells correspondence. I am enclosing copies [not present] of Howell's reply, both his manuscript and the transcription of it published in the Mark Twain-Howells Letters, eds. Henry Nash Smith and William M. Gibson (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960)." Lightly creased. Staple and light paper clip impression at an upper left blank corner. Ink notes (unknown hand) at upper right margin. Fine condition. Two items.
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