Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Doodling Twain

At last week's annual conference of the Society of Authorship, Reading & Publishing (SHARP), there was a panel titled "The Alchemy of the Page: Transforming Image and Text." One paper described Mark Twain's use of imagery in King Leopold's Soliloquy while the second paper was on the many marginal doodles left behind by Max Beerbohm and G. K. Chesterfield. The panel reminded us of our original manuscript of Chapter Sixteen of Mark Twain's A Tramp Abroad that is full of Twain's doodles.

While Twain wrote he flipped over his sheets and indulged in a little mental free play. The manuscript contains two sketches of elephants then a sketch of a gentleman being dragged from the customs house by an elephant's trunk. The image leaves much of the action off page.  Twain wrote a sketch, "A Stolen White Elephant," for A Tramp Abroad that was not included in the final version, but as far as we can tell, this text has nothing to do with elephants. Of course, good doodles almost always hide their meanings.

To see if you can make anything of this text/image interplay, ask for Codex MS 002470.

1 comment :

  1. What a treasure trove! Thanks for sharing these.