The voice of America

Twain_1 From The Guardian:

He was born, obscurely, Samuel Clemens in 1835, the year Halley’s comet appeared in the Victorian skies. When, as Mark Twain, he died in 1910, the comet was once again describing a fiery track through the heavens, and he was now more famous than any American writer had ever been.

As Ron Powers puts it in his exhilarating new biography: ‘His way of seeing and hearing things changed America’s way of seeing and hearing things … he was the Lincoln of American literature.’

‘Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.’

‘If you must gamble your lives sexually, don’t play a lone hand too much.’

‘Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.’

‘Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.’

‘It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and the prudence never to practise either.’

More here.