Pleasure of expectation exceeds that from obtaining it

Garrison Keillor, modern day humorist of note, reviews a book in the New York Times. It is “Volume 1 of ‘The Complete Authentic Unexpurgated Edition, Nothing Has Been Omitted, Not Even Scandalous Passages Likely to Cause Grown Men to Gasp and Women to Collapse in Tears — No Children Under 7 Allowed to Read This Book Under Any Circumstance.’

Mark Twain (1835-1910) spent his final ten years preparing 5,000 unedited pages for an autobiography he wanted published 100 years following his death. The title alone excites any admirer of Mark Twain but alas, Mr. Keillor deflates the swell of expectation through a succinct warning to authors :

“Think twice about donating your papers to an institution of higher learning, Famous Writer: someday they may be used against you.”

Indeed, historian Laura Trombley has done that, writing that Twain’s final work is “full of vitriol, saying things that he’d never said about anyone in print before.”

Sadly, Garrison Keillor observes, “Boyishness cannot prevail, nor irreverence.”

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