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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


BOOKS

...great books are weighed and measured by their style and matter and not by the trimmings and shadings of their grammer.
- Mark Twain, a Biography

When I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books, for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved.
- The Prince and the Pauper

Books
U.S. stamps commemorating American literature

Clemens with book
Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson

Classic--a book which people praise and don't read.
- Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar

You can find in a text whatever you bring, if you will stand between it and the mirror of your imagination.
- "A Fable"

The index of a book should always be written by the author, even though the book itself should be the work of another hand.
- attributed by Robert Underwood Johnson, Remembered Yesterdays

A successful book is not made of what is in it, but of what is left out of it.
- Letter to Henry H. Rogers, 26 - 28 April 1897


MARK TWAIN DONATES BOOKS TO U. S. PRISON

Through the efforts of Warden Hawk and Captain Tupper, the library for the use of inmates of the United States federal prison still grows. A letter just received from Mark Twain reads:

York Harbor, ME., August 22. [1902] --Rev. T. C. Tupper. Chaplain United States Prison, Atlanta. -- Dear Sir: I have ordered the Harpers to send you their six-volume set of my books with great pleasure. I would gladly send the other set--the complete one--if I could afford the expense, but it would cost me $55--and there is no cheap edition. The newspapers are trying to make me out a rich man, but the continued discrepancy between my income and my outgo convinces me that they are not succeeding. Sincerely yours, S. L. Clemens.
- Atlanta Constitution, September 2, 1902, p. 7.

Misattributed quote:

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.

In Nice Guys Finish Seventh, (1992) by Ralph Keyes: "Abby Van Buren once made this observation in her advice column. A reader said she should have credited the thought to Mark Twain. Abby apologized, explaining that she genuinely thought the idea was her own. Perhaps it was. Although this saying is often attributed to Twain, no one has ever confirmed that he said it" (p. 111).

However, a subsequent researcher reports finding the quote in a newspaper, The Chicago Heights Star, Chicago, Illinois, 1 Feb 1949, as a stand alone quote attributed to Mark twain. This places it much earlier than "Dear Abby," but with no acceptable confirmation of source.


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