Dangerous Intimacy The Untold Story of Mark Twain's Final Years

ISBN-10: 0520250001

ISBN-13: 9780520250000

Edition: 2006

Authors: Karen Lystra

List price: $26.95
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Description:

The last phase of Mark Twain's life is sadly familiar: Crippled by losses and tragedies, America's greatest humorist sank into a deep and bitter depression. It is also wrong. This book recovers Twain's final years as they really were--lived in the shadow of deception and prejudice, but also in the light of the author's unflagging energy and enthusiasm. Dangerous Intimacyrelates the story of how, shortly after his wife's death in 1904, Twain basked in the attentions of Isabel Lyon, his flirtatious--and calculating--secretary. Lyon desperately wanted to marry her boss, who was almost thirty years her senior. She managed to exile Twain's youngest daughter, Jean, who had epilepsy. With the help of Twain's assistant, Ralph Ashcroft, who fraudulently acquired power of attorney over the author's finances, Lyon nearly succeeded in assuming complete control over Twain's life and estate. Fortunately, Twain recognized the plot being woven around him just in time. So rife with twists and turns as to defy belief, the story nonetheless comes to undeniable, vibrant life in the letters and diaries of those who witnessed it firsthand: Katy the housekeeper, Jean, Lyon, and others whose own distinctive, perceptive, often amusing voices take us straight into the heart of the Clemens household. Just as Twain extricated himself from the lies, prejudice, and self-delusion that almost turned him into an American Lear, so Karen Lystra liberates the author's last decade from a century of popular misunderstanding. In this gripping book we at last see how, late in life, this American icon discovered a deep kinship with his youngest child and continued to explore the precarious balance of love and pain that is one of the trademarks of his work.
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Book details

List price: $26.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 8/9/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 366
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.122

Acknowledgments
Preface A Note on Names
Mark Twain--and Sam's Women
Heartbreak
Rearranging the Household
Looking for Love
A Pact with the Devil
Life in the Sanitarium
Someone to Love Him and Pet Him
A Viper to Her Bosom
Innocence at Home
Stormfield
An American Lear
Illusions of Love
Unraveling
The Exile Returns
Confrontation
A Formidable Adversary
False Exoneration
The Funniest Joke in the World
Melting Marble with Ice
The End of My Autobiography
Epilogue: How Little One May Tell
Notes
Index
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