Mark Twain on perseverance (sort of)

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PJS
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Tue May 05, 2015 3:23 pm Post

A new collection of stories by Mark Twain has been uncovered at UC Berkeley. They were written when he was 29 and — maybe — contemplating suicide because he wasn't making it as a "serious" writer.

“It’s really a crisis time for him,” Bob Hirst (editor of the UC Berkeley’s Mark Twain project) said. “He’s going to be 30 on 30 November 1865, and for someone not to have chosen a career by that time in this period was quite unusual.”

Twain had been resisting becoming a humorist, according to Hirst, because at the time humor was considered a lower order of writing. He was in debt and drinking heavily, and even wrote to his brother that he was contemplating suicide, saying: “If I do not get out of debt in three months – pistols or poison for one – exit me.”


http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/m ... d-berkeley

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Jaysen
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Tue May 05, 2015 5:18 pm Post

Read his "Burlesque Autobiography". It is all right in there. Actually talks about how much he disliked the idea of being a humorist. I wasn't sure how much was "real" till now though.
Jaysen

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Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:00 am Post

Yeah, I can't remember which one, but in one of his Autobiographies (it might have been Chapters from My Autobiography) he wrote that he attempted suicide, but couldn't go through it. I can't find the quote now, but if from what I recall it ended with something along the lines of "though I have never regretted the attempt."

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Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:24 pm Post

I read the Guardian article with interest, and the long-lost stories as well.

It was such a pleasant surprise to discover more writing from Twain, when so much time has passed!

Besides, Twain has interesting thoughts not only on city government or property issues (as it was revealed in these old articles). He had his own opinion on a lot of serious issues, such as authorship or plagiarism. :roll:

"The kernel, the soul, let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances is plagiarism."


It's hard not to be impressed by the delight and power of his words!

You can read more here: https://unplag.com/blog/mark-twain/

That article is really worth to be read :!:
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - Charles Caleb Colton

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Thu May 24, 2018 10:16 am Post

The idea of a tortured artist might be glamorized in movies and stories, but it is really surprising to see so many famous writers had suicidal thoughts - Hemmingway, Virginia Wolf, Sylvia Plath and now Mark Twain.

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Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:54 am Post

tracy18 wrote:The idea of a tortured artist might be glamorized in movies and stories, but it is really surprising to see so many famous writers had suicidal thoughts - Hemmingway, Virginia Wolf, Sylvia Plath and now Mark Twain.


For the life of me, I cannot understand what is to be glamorized about that kind of character. I mean, the facts that romanticism was so passionate about life, nature and artistic creation, the whole notion of the sublime, bla bla... Mmm, I don't know. It is interesting, but it just makes me a little sad to think that some people, young or not, might adopt these views when dedicating their lives to art and end up with negative attitudes towards life, to put it lightly.. Am I making any sense?

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Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:50 am Post

Wow! Decided to end his life. Did not know that. I mean it's weird that it's always the great minds that suffer so much along the way. All that just makes you stronger.
Even though you feel like you're down in the dumpster, a little hope, a little success in the right direction becomes the catalyst for a meteoric rise.

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Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:51 am Post

KyCoo wrote:Wow! Decided to end his life. Did not know that. I mean it's weird that it's always the great minds that suffer so much along the way. All that just makes you stronger.
Even though you feel like you're down in the dumpster, a little hope, a little success in the right direction becomes the catalyst for a meteoric rise.


Solid hope and optimism goes a long, long way. Terribly powerful (along with the willpower to do something about whatever is wrong in your life).

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lunk
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Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:13 pm Post

KyCoo wrote:... it's weird that it's always the great minds that suffer so much along the way.

It’s not, i.e. the proportion of suicide isn’t higher among "great minds" than among the population in general. But we tend to pay more attention when it’s a "great mind" committing suicide. Confirmation bias.
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Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:58 pm Post

In regard to creative types and authors in particular, unfortunately I’m not sure that confirmation bias is the certain answer. One study (yes, I understand it is but one)—
Study: Writers Are Twice as Likely to Commit Suicide
In the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of this purported phenomenon, researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden gathered census data representing almost 1.2 million patients with schizoaffective disorder, depression, anxiety syndrome, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, autism, ADHD, anorexia nervosa and suicide. […]
When the researchers looked specifically at authors, they found that they are overrepresented among people with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety syndrome, and substance abuse problems. Authors were also almost twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population.[…]

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/arch ... de/263833/

Abstract: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 5612002804
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