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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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“My Dear 'Owells”

“My Dear 'Owells”

Clemens and Howells

(p.83) 4 “My Dear 'Owells”
Mark Twain and Male Friendship

Peter Messent (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

An account of the Clemens‐Howells relationship across its entire course, emphasizing their shared financial, social, and professional concerns that helped to shape the friendship—and helped make it work. Their various collaborations are discussed along with the support each gave the other in their professional lives. The domestic intimacies between the two families (with both men representing themselves as henpecked) is also described, alongside the male‐male intimacy that worked mainly through badinage, and the sheer pleasure taken in the other's company and that of their mutual friends. It is here argued that such friendship, while highly meaningful, also skirted away from deeper and potentially uncomfortable issues. The two men's different and changing social and political viewpoints are examined and the way that for both men radical opinion and practical accommodation went hand in glove. Howells's response to the 1886 Haymarket case and the anti‐imperialist stance both he and Clemens took are also described. Considerable attention is given to their correspondence and the (finally) limited version of selfhood on display there.

Keywords:   Howells, Clemens, Twain, correspondence, marriage, career, politics, collaboration, illness, selfhood

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