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Lost Mark Twain story to be published

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The never-before-published story "The Undertaker's Tale" by Mark Twain will finally see print next week, in the pages of the mystery quarterly The Strand Magazine. "Twain uses his razor sharp wit to pen a tongue-in-cheek tale about the funeral industry," says editor Andrew Gulli, "which could easily have been written today."

But Twain's story has less in common with the glossy "Six Feet Under" than something by Charles Dickens: It's got a dirty hungry wretch, who finds solace in the undertaker's home, and a wicked sense of humor. Cheerfully recollecting the undertaker's busiest season, his lovely daughter Gracie crows, "There was ever so much sickness, and very few got well." And a good time was had by all.

The author, born Samuel Clemens, was widely published during his lifetime. But when he died in 1910, there was a tremendous amount of material that had never been shared. The publisher HarperStudio says he left behind "the largest collection of personal papers created by any 19 century American author" — it's where they found "The Undertaker's Story" and the rest of the contents of a new Twain collection.

"Who Is Mark Twain?" is due to hit shelves next month. It's the first collection of Mark Twain's unpublished short works and will include both fiction and nonfiction. In one essay, he wonders if Jane Austen's intent is to "make the reader detest her people up to the middle of the book and like them in the rest of the chapters?"

That might anger some avid Austen fans, but that would be nothing new. Twain's politics — he was anti-slavery and anti-imperialist — prickled many in his day. But the story that appears in The Strand has few sharp edges, only some wit that winks between the lines.

— Carolyn Kellogg

 
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Twain is Timeless.

Great news!

My 12 year old and I are reading the complete works of Twain together this year (saving Huck Finn for last) and absolutely loving every moment of it.

I highly recommend Ken Burns' documentary on the man who was Twain. Such a profound thinker. I can just imagine how he'd slice and dice much of today's society.

I moved away from organized religion because of Twain's "Letters To The Earth." His pithy take on religion is precious.

How I wish that Mark Twain would be alive today. I'm almost sure that the war in Iraq would have been DOA.
Some people are well known as intelligent or with high I.Qs, but don't have any acts, writings to corroborate such perceived intelligence, but and I don't know Mr Twain's I.Q. level, but I would put all my money on his extraordinary intellect and his great humanity. I would have loved to know Mark Twain, one of the greatest writers and human being of all times.

"The Undertaker's Tale" by Mark Twain is a story excerpted from the upcoming book called WHO IS MARK TWAIN?, which HarperStudio will be publishing in April. Here is a link to the book's website, where you can find out more information: http://theharperstudio.com/authorsandbooks/marktwain/

Alive today Mark Twain would have enough comedic material complimens of the US government to filla hundred volumes.


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