150-Year-Old Mark Twain Stories Uncovered
The Guardian reports today that scholars at the University of California-Berkeley have uncovered and authenticated a cache of 150-year-old Mark Twain stories.
According to The Guardian:
Twain wrote some of the letters and stories at the San Francisco Chronicle when it was called the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle, where his job included writing a 2,000-word dispatch every day and sending it off by stagecoach for publication in the Territorial Enterprise newspaper in Virginia City, Nevada.
His topics range from San Francisco police – who at one point attempted, unsuccessfully, to sue Twain for comparing their chief to a dog chasing its tail to impress its mistress – to mining accidents.
Twain wrote the stories when he was around 30 years old, making them first published in the mid-1860s.
What if you had to send your 2,000 word articles out via stagecoach? Can you imagine? Makes you appreciate modern technology, like broadband internet.
Bob Hirst, the editor at UC-Berkeley’s Mark Twain project, says Twain wrote the stories during a turning point in his career. “It’s really a crisis time for him,” Hirst said. “He’s going to be 30 on 30 November 1865, and for someone not to have chosen a career by that time in this period was quite unusual.”
Twain was drinking heavily during this period and even threatened suicide in a letter to his brother. Thankfully, his writing eventually took off and the rest, as they say, is history.
The only question for me is…when can we read these stories?
Image: Wikimedia Commons