Laura Skandera Trombley


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

Cover Interview of March 14, 2010

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“A story that Mark Twain was determined no one would ever tell.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“Writing biography is a challenge in that the talented biographer follows where the life leads her, not where she would like it to go.  After all, the difference between fiction and fact is that fiction has to make sense.”

On the second:

“In the beginning, Twain biography featured politically savvy scholars who avoided controversial topics to insulate themselves from criticism—both from the public who wanted to believe in their literary heroes as well as surviving family members all too ready to sue. Nowadays danger emanates from the opposite end of the academic continuum: biographies with the subtlety of smash-and-grab vandalism.”