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Monday, February 7, 2011

Mark Twain and the clairvoyant

"At the age of 25, Sam Clemens had every reason to feel pleased with himself," writes Adam Goodheart in a charming and informative contribution to today's New York Times Opinionator.

Everything was going well for the jaunty young man.  "He was already one of the 'aristocrats of the river' -- a Mississippi steamboat pilot earning the princely sum of $250 a month."  This gave him the leisure to dine sumptuously on shrimp and oysters, continue his self education by reading Suetonius and Shakespeare -- and to visit a clairvoyant.

Goodheart explores a letter written by Clemens to his brother Orion, that describes the experience in detail.  "That Feb. 6, 1861 letter is one of the few detailed ones to survive from a pivotal time in Sam Clemens's life," he says. "It casts a strange -- perhaps even unearthly -- light on the complicated young man who would soon be Mark Twain."

Well worth a thoughtful read.  Follow the link embedded in the title above. 

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