Essay about Samuel Clemens in Buffalo: A Woman and an Artist

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Samuel Clemens in Buffalo: A Woman and an Artist


While literary critics and historians alike have thoroughly examined the influence of Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ Missouri boyhood and foreign travels on his writing, scholars outside of Western New York consistently overlook the importance of the eighteen months he spent in Buffalo from August 1869 to March 1871. Though a Buffalo resident for the past twenty years, I was also only vaguely aware that Clemens passed through until Dr. Walter Sharrow of the Canisius College History Department mentioned his local stay.
The suggestion that America’s best satirist lived in Buffalo—a location that could provide a contemporary wit with a wide range of material—tickled my historical
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Rather than presenting a chronological account of his Buffalo experience—which Fried has done sufficiently well—I intend to thematically examine the factors most influencing the changes in his artistic production. The following paper relies heavily on Clemens’ personal correspondence taken from the University of California Press’ five volume collection of his letters. Additionally, Joseph B. McCullough and Janice McIntire-Strasburg’s Mark Twain at the Buffalo Express, the edited collection of Twain’s writings for the Express, provided a useful source of his public writing during his stay in Buffalo. Justin Kaplan’s comprehensive biography, Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain, was also useful and careful to include much information about his Buffalo experience. Unfortunately, no found notebooks or journals written by Clemens record the hectic years from 1869 to 1872.
Finally, a note of appreciation must be rendered towards the coffee bean. Without that simple vessel of life, this paper would not be possible.

Samuel Clemens in Buffalo: A Woman and an Artist

At the age of seventeen, when his characteristic moustache was just a few faint whiskers, Samuel Langhorne Clemens left his home in Hannibal, Missouri to search for a new life. Already heavily interested in the work that would dominate his next eighteen years, he traveled to New York to

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