July 5 – July 11, 2010 Edition PBS Airs Unpublished Mark Twain Essay

NEW YORK, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/July 7, 2010–A previously unpublished essay by famed American writer Mark Twain was published Wednesday, July 7, 2010, on the PBS NewsHour’s website, along with a reading of the essay “Concerning the ‘Interview.’” by Robert Hirst, general editor of the Mark Twain Project at the University of California, Berkeley.

An excerpt of Hirst’s reading aired on Wednesday’s NewsHour as well (check local listings) after a report by correspondent Spencer Michels on the publishing of Twain’s autobiography later this year – a century after his death.

In the course of his career, Twain was frequently interviewed by reporters. The 10-page handwritten essay was scribed in either 1889 or 1890, a time which coincided with the rise of “yellow journalism.” Hirst says Twain was often infuriated with the line of questioning, a sentiment revealed in the essay when he likens an interviewer to a cyclone, “which comes with the gracious purpose of cooling off a sweltering village and is not aware afterward that it has done that village anything but a favor.” Although scholars have had access to this essay, it has not been previously published, according to Hirst’s research. Twain left the essay unfinished as well, he said.

Handwritten pages of Twain’s essay have been published on the PBS NewsHour website, along with a video of Robert Hirst reading the essay and discussing its historical context with Spencer Michels. NewsHour Extra will also feature a lesson plan for teachers. Spencer Michels will also blog about how the essay came to be published for the first known time.

“Concerning the ‘Interview.’” was read with the permission of Richard A. Watson and JPMorgan Chase Bank as trustees of the Mark Twain Foundation.

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