26

It's mentioned in the The Hawaiian Archipelago (1831–1904). Essentially three cheers followed by a loud growl from the crowd (the "tiger"). On the king's appearance, the cheering was tremendous,—regular British cheering, well led, succeeded by that which is not British, “three cheers and a tiger ,” but it was “Hi, hi, hi, hullah!” There's ...


20

This is referencing the plot of the second chapter of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain. In this chapter, Tom tricks the other boys into doing his work for him: “What do you call work?” “Why, ain’t that work?” Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly: “Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer.” “Oh ...


20

She [Jane Austen] makes me detest all her people, without reserve. Is that her intention? It is not believable. Then is it her purpose to make the reader detest her people up to the middle of the book and like them in the rest of the chapters? That could be. That would be high art. It would be worth while, too. Some day I will examine the other end of her ...


18

Zombies go way back, further than 1892. There has been a fear of the undead since caveman times, when some tribes used to tie up corpses to stop them coming back to life. Perhaps the earliest form of writing about living dead is The epic of Gilgamesh (roughly 18th century BC)[1]: I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld, I will smash the door posts, ...


17

It means "noose" - figuratively, hanging. @BeastlyGerbil's answer is correct, but for completeness I checked for other uses of the word "halter" in the Entire Gutenberg Twain Files (warning: slow to load!) The court informed him that a sheriff had been appointed to do the hanging, and— Capt. Ned's patience was at an end. His wrath was boundless. The ...


11

It appears that most later critics think that Twain's criticism was unfair, and possibly intended as humor. John McWilliams writes: Hilarious though Twain's essay is, it is valid only within its own narrow and sometimes misapplied criteria.1 Some other sources cited by Wikipedia appear to claim that the essay was not intended as a criticism at all, ...


10

Yes. The comma should be there. Let's look at the wider context around that quote: We used to trust in God. I think it was in 1863 that some genius suggested that it be put upon the gold and silver coins which circulated among the rich. They didn't put it on the nickels and coppers because they didn't think the poor folks had any trust in God. [...] The ...


9

He really did engage in silver mine prospecting while he lived in Nevada, though he wasn't one to really pick up a shovel and pick and do much actual work. Almost a millionaire twice. In the first instance, he and two partners put a claim on a blind lead of silver in a public mine. You had to put some reasonable amount of work into the mine within 10 days, ...


9

Project Gutenberg has compiled The Entire Project Gutenberg Works of Mark Twain from over 220 of his works. I downloaded the text (about 16 million bytes) and split it by '. ' (and similar patterns) to identify sentences. Then I split sentences into words. (There is some scope for error in both these steps: for example, periods can occur within sentences, in ...


9

A halter used to be a rope for hanging people - a noose. Nowadays it has evolved to be a strap around a horse's head, but you can still see the original 'rope around the neck' idea. DLosc in the comments below points out that it used to mean a strap round a horse's head, and became a noose when hanging was introduced in the middle ages. This website pins ...


8

While vamos in Spanish does mean "let's go!", it took on another meaning in America, and later on a different spelling: vamoose intransitive verb : to depart quickly In the 1820s and '30s, the American Southwest was rough-and-tumble territory—the true Wild West. English-speaking cowboys, Texas Rangers, and gold prospectors regularly rubbed ...


7

The Oxford English Dictionary has this definition for to keep: To carry on and manage, to conduct as one's own (an establishment or business, a school, shop, etc.). This sense of the verb well predates Twain, dating back to Middle English. Two common expressions of this form are to keep house and to keep (a) shop. Therefore "keep hotel" simply means ...


7

As a concise and direct answer to your question, here is a quote from Twain's essay "Concerning the Jews": "I have no race prejudices, and I think I have no color prejudices or caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed I know it. I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being--that is enough for me; he can'...


7

You need to understand the historical context for this. It all goes back to the various struggles and civil wars which took place in seventeenth-century England. Essentially the whole chapter is a "your great-grandfather killed my great-grandfather" type story. Firstly, there's another relevant line a couple of paragraphs earlier: Jacob Fuller, the ...


6

The part about "half" a dog is to lure the townspeople into the joke. If he had just said he wished to own the dog, it would have been too obvious, and not interesting enough. This way of phrasing it forces people to ponder what he means, and what possible reason there could be to want only half of a dog. Once people have fallen into the trap, he springs ...


6

Was he familiar with Twain? While I really couldn't find much on this topic, here is what I found. As a comment mentioned, there's Clyde Kilby's observation that he "was pleasantly surprised at the familiarity he showed with American literature, especially that of Mark Twain" (TOLKIEN & THE SILMARILLION, pages 30-31) from this website; the ...


5

At 419 words, this whopper may indeed be the longest sentence Twain ever wrote. Searching the internet for references to longest Mark Twain sentences, the best I found was this 262-worder from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: The first thing to see, looking away over the water, was a kind of dull line; that was the woods on t’other side–you couldn’t ...


4

Zombies are also found elsewhere in Norse mythology; during Ragnarök, the unworthy dead return from Hel to fight the Norse gods (and the Einherjar). I read about this recently in Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology: Loki's troops are the legions of Hel. They are the uneasy dead, the ones who died shameful deaths, who will return to the earth to fight once ...


4

The simplest explanation is the following: one should not confuse a book's narrator with the biographical author, i.e. in this case, Mark Twain. Narrators can espouse views that are not shared by the author, even in the case of an omniscient narrator. From this point of view, the statements about threading the needle from both books don't even need to be ...


4

As mentioned by the OP in a comment, the answer may be found in the article Sherwood Cummings, "Mark Twain's Moveable Farm and the Evasion", American Literature 63(3) (1991), pp. 440-458, which may be found on Jstor. There's actually much more to this issue than that one line from Aunt Polly. Allow me to answer by challenging one assumption made in the OP ...


3

I got these answers from a different source (Twain email forum): From Barbara Schmidt: According to the annotations in _Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 2_, p. 543 it is a reference to an 1874 long range rifle match that occurred on the Creed farm in upstate New York. From Robert H. Hirst: Today the term Creedmoor is synonymous with precision long-...


2

Keep in mind that Twain was often (almost always) more interested in being interesting than in sticking to the sometimes less colorful facts of the matter. He has been described as writing "autobiographical fiction" and "fictional autobiography." So you might find more "truth" about what he experienced in life in "Tom Sawyer" and "Huck Finn" than you will in ...


2

At its most basic, the "joke" is simply the expectation created by the initial remark, followed by the anticlimactic punch line. This could also be alluding to some of the racial themes explored in the novel. The irrationality of owning half a dog can be compared to the irrational implications of then-present ideas about race. For example, the character ...


1

It's perhaps a literary foreshadowing of the primary storyline of the book, what happens to the twins. Each has two "halves" of their personal identity, the genetic and the social (often called nature and nurture). The discovery of the switch changes one-half of the identity, genetic/nature. The townsfolk and all the rest think the other half, the ...


1

Let's re-organize the phrase: "Because (of the fact that) I would kill my half, I wish I owned (only) half of that dog." It's really the act of ownership that's the issue here, and with it responsibility. Wilson's joke is like saying "I like plants but I can't own them because I'd forget to water them and they'd die". But Wilson wouldn't own the other half, ...


1

The idea of revenants was definitely present in the Mabinogion, which dates to the about the 12th century CE, and is present in Norse mythology in relation to Freyja's powers. As Beastly Gerbil suggests, this idea may be as old as literature itself.


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible