522
522
Clemens, Samuel L.
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 10,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
522
Clemens, Samuel L.
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 10,000 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 x145 mm), Kaltenlentgeben (near) Vienna, 5 August 1898, to Mrs. Walter Littlewood, expressing his irreverence toward conventional religion; rather creased, glassine tape repair to fold through middle of both pages, affecting one line of script.
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Provenance

Mrs. Walter Littlewood — Theosophical University, Point Loma, California

Catalogue Note

Clemens's contempt for conventional religion. Clemens responds to a Mrs. Littlewood that he would be happy to donate his books to her wards. Mrs. Littlewood and her husband were for many years in charge of an institution for the blind in Liverpool. A remark Mrs. Littlewood about "Jesus books" prompts Clemens on a pungent discourse about the institution of religion: "that's a darling expression, the 'Jesus' books! It gives us a private view of whole London Vaults of bottled resentment. I shan't forget it. What a small business it is — the persecution of the helpless. Religious people do know so many ways of being disagreeable. It makes me dread to go to hell; but I suppose there is no way to get around it."

He claims to have a religion of his own styling but no leanings toward theosophy. "No, I'm not leaning toward Theosophy. ... I have a religion, but I have not found resemblances to it anywhere, & I shouldn't know how to label it if I should try. I have written it all out, but (between you and me), I darn't stay in the same room with it during a thunderstorm. I shan't publish it—I've got better judgment. Yes, & more charity." 

After his death, Twain's surviving daughter suppressed some of his work which was especially inflammatory, most notably Letters from the Earth, which was not published until Clara reversed her position in 1962 in response to Soviet propagand about the withholding. The anti-religious The Mysterious Stranger was published in 1916. Little Bessie, a story ridiculing Christianity, was first published in the 1972 collection Mark Twain's Fables of Man.

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

|
New York