Navigation: Literary Mischief
Work and Play

Variations on Many Themes

Punchlines
[from an 1879 notebook]
Punchlines [from an 1879 notebook]

In private life, as well as in his writing, Clemens was a yarn spinner. He kept long lists of his favorite anecdotes in his notebooks, usually recording only a cryptic punchline.

Some of these stories got folded into his literary works, some became public by way of his after-dinner speeches, but it is clear that many, because of their questionable propriety, were reserved for private gatherings of his male friends.
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