We enjoyed your March 15th letter with all the news. Also greatly interested in the Walker Percy pieces and look forward to reading the book. It’s amazing that “The Moviegoer” is that old. I’m continuing to forge desultorily through the Mark Twain biography. It’s pleasantly dull; does that make sense? I think sometimes such reading is therapeutic. I continue to be amazed and amused at the chronic illnesses and indispositions of the women and the blustering, inappropriate reactions of the men folk. Clemens’s daughter Clara professed to cultivate a singing career practically all her life; yet she routinely came down with a sore throat before every concert, and would take to her bed for months on end. Clemens’s presence seemed to send all his women to their sick beds; they would recover when he went away on speaking tours and all sorts of other engagements. Meanwhile, everybody dumped reams of saccharine, verbose correspondence on everybody else. Much of what Samuel Clemens wrote during the last ten years — journalism, essays, occasional pieces, as well as books — seems definitely to be avoided, judging by the critical evaluations in this biography. I do have an impulse, though, to read or re-read something from his great period, just to experience the greatness.
[Correspondence, Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.]