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Mark Twain and Male FriendshipThe Twichell, Howells, and Rogers Friendships$
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Peter Messent

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391169

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391169.001.0001

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Clemens, Twichell, and Religion

Clemens, Twichell, and Religion

(p.63) 3 Clemens, Twichell, and Religion
Mark Twain and Male Friendship

Peter Messent (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the ways in which the belief systems of American Protestant religion were changing in these years, and what Twichell's relation was to such change. It examines the religious beliefs of both men and Clemens's gradual move away from any kind of religious affiliation and into the profound skepticism of his later years. The chapter traces the various stages of the two men's relationship in this regard, moving from the strong spiritual influence of Twichell as Clemens courted his wife, to the significant role Clemens played as a member of his Hartford congregation, to an increasing distance between beliefs and world‐views from the 1890s onward. The later correspondence between the two men is examined in detail as Twichell plays the optimist to Clemens's ironic nay‐saying. The chapter argues that Clemens's retreat from religion echoes a general loss of church authority in the period.

Keywords:   Twichell, Clemens, Twain, religion, optimism, scepticism, courtship, Hartford, politics

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