Laura Skandera Trombley


On her book Mark Twain’s Other Woman: The Hidden Story of His Final Years

Cover Interview of March 14, 2010


My ambition for this biography is to encourage a reappraisal of Mark Twain in this centennial year of his death.  For too long, the public version of Twain has been the image of a calcified, genteel, white statue that apparently was free of the worries that constitute the human condition.  In fact, Twain was utterly human in his struggles as a spouse and parent.  At the end of his life, he gave free rein to his feelings of rage and inadequacy, and in his frantic efforts to establish his legacy he reveals his narcissism and insecurity.

If anything, Twain’s literary genius lay in his ability to sublimely capture our common humanity and make us realize that even in the midst of horrendous social evils, it was possible for an unschooled, poor, southern boy to do the right thing when it came to protecting Jim, the only adult who had ever treated him with kindness.

It is time to make Twain human again.  The purpose of Mark Twain’s Other Woman is to lift the layers of what has come to be accepted as truth about Mark Twain’s life and to explore what actually existed in the beginning and what finally remained at the end.

© 2010 Laura Trombley