Author Topic: Mark Twain on the Romanovs and Revolution  (Read 8733 times)

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Offline CorisCapnSkip

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Mark Twain on the Romanovs and Revolution
« on: December 10, 2009, 02:54:19 AM »
Came across this interesting material while looking for something else:  http://www.twainquotes.com/Revolution/revolution.html

Offline markjhnstn

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Re: Mark Twain on the Romanovs and Revolution
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2009, 03:00:26 AM »
Thanks for the link. Fascinating stuff!!

RomanovsFan4Ever

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Re: Mark Twain on the Romanovs and Revolution
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2009, 07:36:39 AM »
Indeed interesting.
I have always been and I'm still a huge fan of Mark Twain's writings, but I didn't know that he was so anti-tsarism oriented.

Offline CorisCapnSkip

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Re: Mark Twain on the Romanovs and Revolution
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2009, 10:05:18 PM »
Yeah, I couldn't help wondering if he'd lived a few years longer, and if the details which have emerged over the years, about the Romanovs not dying instantly when shot and having to be stabbed, had been known, what he'd have thought.  Can't imagine he'd approve of women and children being stabbed!

Offline Sergei Witte

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Re: Mark Twain on the Romanovs and Revolution
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2009, 05:09:33 AM »
Very interesting piece. I read it al.

Strange though that he was disgusted by the Russian imperialism but was in favour of the Japanese who did exactly the same...

In the end the writer tells something on the motives of Mark Twain of his revolutionary sentiments. This was probably a sense of guilt of being a former owner of slaves himself. This puts some perspective to this.

Offline Nicolas Peucelle

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Re: Mark Twain on the Romanovs and Revolution
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2009, 03:14:15 PM »
Dear Sir, thank you for the weblink to Mark Twains writings. He is just a great writer.. and he catches me just by his style and humor. I copy paste here one example and invite other people of the Forum to check your link. Of cause Marc Twain did not live long enough to see what happened after the "evil Tsars" and some of these Siberia Slaves once they got hold of the power in Russia... Each person is somehow the child of his time, and he was a great american free man probably unable to live very long in Russia under any circumstances.
Quote (1) (Mark Twain:)
What is the Czar of Russia but a house afire in the midst of a city of eighty millions of inhabitants? Yet instead of extinguishing him, together with his nest and system, the liberation-parties are all anxious to merely cool him down a little and keep him.

It seems to me that this is illogical -- idiotic, in fact. Suppose you had this granite-hearted, bloody-jawed maniac of Russia loose in your house, chasing the helpless women and little children -- your own. What would you do with him, supposing you had a shotgun? Well, he is loose in your house -- Russia. And with your shotgun in your hand, you stand trying to think up ways to modify" him.

Quote (2)
Of course I know that the properest way to demolish the Russian throne would be by revolution. But it is not possible to get up a revolution there; so the only thing left to do, apparently, is to keep the throne vacant by dynamite until a day when candidates shall decline with thanks. Then organize the Republic. And on the whole this method has some large advantages; for whereas a revolution destroys some lives which cannot well be spared, the dynamite way doesn't. Consider this: the conspirators against the Czar's life are caught in every rank of life, from the low to the high. And consider: if so many take an active part, where the peril is so dire, is this not evidence that the sympathizers who keep still and do not show their hands, are countless for multitudes? Can you break the hearts of thousands of families with the awful Siberian exodus every year for generations and not eventually cover all Russia from limit to limit with bereaved fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters who secretly hate the perpetrator of this prodigious crime and hunger and thirst for his life? Do you not believe that if your wife or your child or your father was exiled to the mines of Siberia for some trivial utterances wrung from a smarting spirit by the Czar's intolerable tyranny, and you got a chance to kill him and did not do it, that you would always be ashamed to be in your own society the rest of your life? Suppose that that refined and lovely Russian lady who was lately stripped bare before a brutal soldiery and whipped to death by the Czar's hand in the person of the Czar's creature had been your wife, or your daughter or your sister, and to-day the Czar should pass within reach of your hand, how would you feel -- and what would you do? Consider, that all over vast Russia, from boundary to boundary, a myriad of eyes filled with tears when that piteous news came, and through those tears that myriad of eyes saw, not that poor lady, but lost darlings of their own whose fate her fate brought back with new access of grief out of a black and bitter past never to be forgotten or forgiven.

If I am a Swinburnian -- and clear to the marrow I am -- I hold human nature in sufficient honor to believe there are eighty million mute Russians that are of the same stripe, and only one Russian family that isn't.

Mark Twain (7).
Quote (3)
THE AMERICAN CLAIMANT, 1891

Coinciding with the visit of Stepniak in early 1891 was Twain's work on The American Claimant. The book is peppered with references to Siberia and Russian tyranny. In chapter 18 Twain has his protagonist Colonel Sellers proposing to buy Siberia:

Where is the place where there is twenty-five times more manhood, pluck, true heroism, unselfishness, devotion to high and noble ideals, adoration of liberty, wide education, and brains, per thousand of population, than any other domain in the whole world can show?"

"Siberia!"

"Right."

"It is true; it certainly is true, but I never thought of it before."

"Nobody ever thinks of it. But it's so, just the same. In those mines and prisons are gathered together the very finest and noblest and capablest multitude of human beings that God is able to create. Now if you had that kind of a population to sell, would you offer it to a despotism? No, the despotism has no use for it; you would lose money. A despotism has no use for anything but human cattle. But suppose you want to start a republic?"

"Yes, I see. It's just, the material for it."

"Well, I should say so! There's Siberia with just the very finest and choicest material on the globe for a republic, and more coming -- more coming all the time, don't you see! It is being daily, weekly, monthly recruited by the most perfectly devised system that has ever been invented, perhaps. By this system the whole of the hundred millions of Russia are being constantly and patiently sifted, sifted, sifted, by myriads of trained experts, spies appointed by the Emperor personally; and whenever they catch a man, woman or child that has got any brains or education or character, they ship that person straight to Siberia. It is admirable, it is wonderful. It is so searching and so effective that it keeps the general level of Russian intellect and education down to that of the Czar" (11).

The American Claimant was serialized in the Sunday edition of the New York Sun in early 1892 and in various McClure syndications as well as England's Idler.


_____

« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 03:28:18 PM by Nicolas Peucelle »
Nicolas Peucelle

Offline wox24

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Re: Mark Twain on the Romanovs and Revolution
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2009, 04:47:52 AM »
Thanks very much for this link CorisCapnSkip. ;)

Offline Nicolas Peucelle

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Re: Mark Twain on the Romanovs and Revolution
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2009, 02:34:43 PM »
I found a book preview of Mark Twains Autobiography.  When Mark Twain describes the fun he had with his youth friend "Mars Wales" who is forcing a mulatto slave girl to have sex and making fun out of her slave mother in the same time, than I understand that Mark Twain did not always have the same ideas about human slavery. Younger poeple think different than older ones.. The older he became .. the more he mentionned murder and dynamite to solve such problems...



http://books.google.com/books?id=UmBnM07AzlUC&pg=RA1-PA277&lpg=RA1-PA277&dq=Albert+Bigelow+Paine+wilhelm&source=bl&ots=WnqoysqwaD&sig=zcZ8AWHiYLlFB1LRplTy38t0UxE&hl=en&ei=QdU3S-mbN5_J_gahqrCGCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CB8Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=&f=false
Nicolas Peucelle

Offline abbigail

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Re: Mark Twain on the Romanovs and Revolution
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2010, 07:32:24 AM »
Interesting point, Nicolas Peucelle. And a very fascinating link, CorisCapnSkip. It doesn't surprise me.
There is a clock that never strikes...
There is a cathedral that goes down and a lake that goes up...
There is a little carriage abandoned in the copse...
There is a troupe of little actors in costume...
And when you are hungry or thirsty, there is someone who drives you away.

Alixz

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Re: Mark Twain on the Romanovs and Revolution
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2010, 11:07:09 AM »
One must also remember that the times in which one lives colors our thoughts about such matters.

There are those who will rise above, but there are also those who will go along with the general public opinion.

In youth, we tend to try to fit in and blend with our contemporaries.  As we age, we gain more insight and begin to judge things by our own lights, not the lights of others.

This is true of all men, great and small, writer or president.