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The Author-CatClemens's Life in Fiction$
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Forrest G. Robinson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227877

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823227877.001.0001

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My List of Permanencies

My List of Permanencies

(p.80) 3 My List of Permanencies
The Author-Cat

Forrest G. Robinson

Fordham University Press

Clemens was struck by guilt when a incident in a birthday dinner for John Greenleaf Whittier happens: all the audience expected a entertaining speech, instead they got a rather crude burlesque of Emerson, Holmes, and Longfellow, casted by Clemens as bibulous ruffians. He is baffled and mortified by what he wrote, so promptly delivered an apology to his victims and accepted his blame for trespass. Clemens's perennial craving for an end to guilt was accompanied by the virtual certainty that there would be no relief from his “list of permanencies.” That offense he committed continued to weigh heavily in his mind, so he decided to remove his family to Europe just a few months later. As he grew older his suffering became more chronic, his guilt became a fixed feature of his interior life.

Keywords:   Clemens, permanencies, life, guilt, speech, John Greenleaf Whittier, apology

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