Dear Mark Twain

Dear Mark Twain

Letters from His Readers

By R. Kent Rasmussen (Editor)

University of California Press, Hardcover, 9780520261341, 316pp.

Publication Date: April 21, 2013

Description
A voracious pack-rat, Mark Twain hoarded his readers' letters as did few of his contemporaries. "Dear Mark Twain" collects 200 of these letters written by a diverse cross-section of correspondents from around the worldchildren, farmers, schoolteachers, businessmen, preachers, railroad clerks, inmates of mental institutions, con artists, and even a former president. It is a unique and groundbreaking bookthe first published collection of reader letters to any writer of Mark Twain's time. Its contents afford a rare and exhilarating glimpse into the sensibilities of nineteenth-century people while revealing the impact Samuel L. Clemens had on his readers. Clemens's own and often startling comments and replies are also included.
R. Kent Rasmussen's extensive research provides fascinating profiles of the correspondents, whose personal stories are often as interesting as their letters. Ranging from gushing fan appreciations and requests for help and advice to suggestions for writing projects and stinging criticisms, the letters are filled with perceptive insights, pathos, and unintentional but often riotous humor. Many are deeply moving, more than a few are hilarious, some may be shocking, but none are dull.


About the Author
R. Kent Rasmussen has published two books on Mark Twain: "Mark Twain's Book for Bad Boys and Girls" and "Mark Twain A to Z", which won a special citation by the Reference and Adult Services committee of the American Library Association as one of the best reference books published in 1995.


Praise For Dear Mark Twain

“Well-selected, thoroughly researched and thoughtfully annotated—a surprising, welcome addition to the apparently endless Twain shelf.”

“It is a special delight to read Twain’s interactions with the readers who made him 19th-century America’s most popular writer.”
-Alexander Nazaryan

“Kent Rasmussen has done it again: he has come up with a book that will give every Twainiac and lots of others with only a casual interest in Mark Twain much enjoyment and a non-trivial amount of insight into one of the most remarkable writers the world has ever known.”
-Shelley Fisher Fishkin

“A magnificent, remarkably researched book.”
-Maria Popova

"The content is diverse and intriguing. . . . Verdict: Rasmussen is clearly an expert curator and researcher. Fans of Twain and most libraries will want to secure a copy."
-Stacy Russo