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Autograph Letter, Signed, About Joan of Arc]
30 Wellington Ct., Albert Gate, London 1900 - 3 1/4 pages. on four panels of a folded octavo sheet of letterhead. A few minor finger smudges, folded for mailing (with careful repair to break at one fold) otherwise very good or better. To Canon [Basil] Wilberforce. In an October 1899 letter to W.D. Howells, Clemens noted that he had just received an invitation from Wilberforce to "talk Joan of Arc in his drawing-room to the Dukes and Earls and M. P.'s .," and indicated that he would endeavor to postpone the occasion. He appears to have succeeded in doing so, for here, six months later, he discusses the nature of the proposed talk: "The short paper which I wrote for Mr. Murray's book [T. Douglas Murray, JEANNE D'ARC, MAID OF ORLEANS: DELIVERER OF FRANCE (1903)] contains what I should wish to say -- a grouping, under two or three heads, of the chief marvels of Joan's character as revealed by the prominent incidents of her career. It is not an effort to account for Joan, but rather an argument or confession that she cannot be accounted for. A large part of the interest which she has for me, grows out of just that perplexing & fascinating mystery: that our capablest rules of measurement are baffled & defeated in her case -- we can't get at her astronomical dimensions with our yard-stick. If I might read from that paper & intersperse the reading with talk enough to relieve the formality & stiffness of the deliberately- prepared sentences, I think I might get through without ship-wreck ." Signed: "Very sincerely yours S.L. Clemens." Wilberforce & Clemens are enshrined in the body of literary anecdote via the incident in July of 1899 when Wilberforce confused Clemens' hat for his own and made off with it.
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Literature, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2018-02-26           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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