The presentation of Mark Twain's little story is concluded. Grace wondered if I would have any remarks on it.
I am not a Twain scholar, but I have been reading and rereading in many cases most of his works since I was a lad. I greatly admire and envy the man's facility with the English language. I am taken with his humor and his ability to see and relate the funny side of life. I recognize that he was shrewd and insightful and he often used his humor and his writing to skewer the foibles of humankind. One of the best items I have ever read on people's understanding of wage/price economics is contained in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court,
I have not read any part of the recently published (two of three parts) autobiography which Twain demanded not be published for 100 years after his death. Each of the first two volumes runs to over 700 pages, and I understand the third volume to be released later this year runs to almost 800 pages.
I started my Mark Twain collection when I was fourteen years of age. I bought a thirty volume "Authorized Uniform Edition" in a used bookstore and hauled it home in a cardboard box, riding on a city bus. I still have the set, except for ACYIKAC which I loaned to someone and never got it back. But my sister, Vee, went searching on-line and a couple years ago she presented me with the volume which matches my set. What a sister!
To "The Five Boons of Life." The first four boons, fame, love, riches, pleasure are temporal and fleeting. The writer tasted of each of them and knew well that they did not bring lasting satisfaction. That the fifth, death, would bring fulfillment was a projection the writer was ill-equipped to make for he seems to have rejected any concept of a loving God, hence "emptiness," or "nothingness," i.e., non-existence must be the boon he cherished. How sad. A man of such power, such intellect, one who brought much (temporal) pleasure to so many could find no lasting satisfaction in life.
Twain did suffer mightily, did lose much that was important to him. Yet he seemed to have no bulwark against cynicism and bitterness.
The tale was written in 1902. His beloved wife died in 1906 after a protracted illness, his darling daughter in 1910, and he himself that same year.