521
521
Clemens, Samuel L.
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 4,063 USD
JUMP TO LOT
521
Clemens, Samuel L.
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 4,063 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

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New York

Clemens, Samuel L.
Autograph letter signed ("S. L. Clemens"), 2 pages (9 x 5 5/8 in.; 225 x 144 mm) on Hotel Krantz, Vienna stationery, 5 April 1898, to a Mr. Walker ([possibly E. D. Walker, editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine), suggesting his short story "Wapping Alice" for publication; top and bottom margins a trifle frayed, bottom portion of second page clipped below signature, pinholes in upper inside corners.
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Catalogue Note

Clemens proffers for magazine publication his most "blatantly sexual" story in which he "explored the murky area of changelings, look-alikes, gender shifts, and cross-dressing" (LeMaster and Wilson, The Mark Twain Encyclopedia, p. 767). "If you think you are in need of a story, please drop a line to Miss I.K. Harrison ... & ask her to send you the little tale entitled "Wapping Alice." The Wapping Alice yarn is substantially true. I have disguised it & changed some of the features & removed the scene to the South to keep the Hartford people from recognising it ... but the thing happened in m y house a dozen years ago, & was even more bizarre & picturesque than I have made it in the story."

In 1877 a maid in the Clemens's employ tripped the burglar alarm, disclosing the fact she was admitting a secret lover. When confronted by Clemens, the maid claimed her lover had made her pregnant. The dramatized version has her accept her seducer's proposal of marriage. After the ceremony was performed the maid is discovered to be a male transvestite. Clemens defended the homosexual aspect of the story by claiming that the single-sex marriage was intended to "soften the little drama sufficiently to enable me to exploit it in a magazine without risk of overshocking the magazine's readers" (quoted in The M. T. Encyclopedia, p. 768). It was first printed by the University of California in 1981.

THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

|
New York