Keeping Up with Mark Twain- page 9 | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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Keeping Up with Mark Twain

Berkeley researchers toil to stay abreast of Samuel Clemens' enormous literary output, which appears to continue unabated

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One of Hirst’s coworkers is Harriet Smith, who has spent a greater portion of her life with the author than any of her colleagues: her father, Henry Nash Smith, once oversaw the project and ranks among America’s foremost Twain scholars. “After all these years, I still keep a folder of Twain’s work that hits me,” she says. “It never ceases to amaze me—the turn of phrase, the facility for using the language that comes so naturally to him.” And, she adds, “The passion for social justice, for honesty, for exposing hypocrisy, his hatred of imperialism and war—he simply never, never goes stale.”


Her tribute would have come as no surprise to Mark Twain, who once summed up his enormous appeal with deceptive modesty. “High & fine literature is wine, & mine is only water,” he wrote to a friend. Then he added: “But everybody likes water.”


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