Mark Twain's "My Platonic Sweetheart"- page 6 | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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Portrait of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain from 1867. (Library of Congress)

Mark Twain's "My Platonic Sweetheart"

In an essay published posthumously in 1912, Mark Twain recounts his dreams of a long-lost love

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“It is, because it is so marginal.”

Then she disappeared. It was just as well; she could probably have added nothing to that rounded and perfect statement without damaging its symmetry.

This glimpse of her carries me back to Maui, and that time when I saw her gasp out her young life. That was a terrible thing to me at the time. It was preternaturally vivid; and the pain and the grief and the misery of it to me transcended many sufferings that I have known in waking life. For everything in a dream is more deep and strong and sharp and real than is ever its pale imitation in the unreal life which is ours when we go about awake and clothed with our artificial selves in this vague and dull-tinted artificial world. When we die we shall slough off this cheap intellect, perhaps, and go abroad into Dreamland clothed in our real selves, and aggrandized and enriched by the command over the mysterious mental magician who is here not our slave, but only our guest.

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