Mark Twain Wanted to Scalp His Critics

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Have you checked out Sunday Magazine? It’s writer David Friedman’s site with articles from The New York Times Sunday Magazine exactly 100 years ago from the date he posts.

One of the articles for July 30, 1911, “When Mark Twain Nearly Changed His Literary Career,” features an interview with Twain talking about reviews for The Prince and the Pauper.

“‘…that book brought one of the greatest disappointments I have ever had in my life,’ he presently resumed. ‘It came mighty near changing the entire course of my literary life and incidentally gave me a life-long yearning to kill a critic. I shall never die happy unless I have at least scalped one.’”


LaToya Jordan is a writer from Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of the poetry chapbook, Thick-Skinned Sugar (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and her work has been listed as notable in Best American Essays 2016. Her writing has appeared in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Mom Egg Review, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, and more. Visit her at latoyajordan.com. More from this author →