Mark Twain's link with 'filthy-minded, salacious' secy revealed in memoirs

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London, June 12 (ANI): Late American author and humorist Mark Twain has in his memoirs revealed about his obsession with his secretary, who he called as a "filthy-minded and salacious slut".

The memoirs are being published 100 years after Twain's death, as he had decreed that his full manuscript should not be published for a century so that he would be "dead, and unaware, and indifferent" and could speak his "whole frank mind".

His feelings for Isabel Van Kleek Lyon, who was his secretary, are laid bare in the unedited 5,000-page book, which shows him as a man with petty rages and uncomplimentary views of contemporaries.

The "comely" brunette was hired in 1902 to manage Twain's correspondence. The pair became inseparable following the death of his wife, Olivia, two years later.

She adored Twain, and referred to him as "the King" in her diaries and believed him to be "the gentlest, most considerate, most lovable creature in all the Earth".

She had dreamed of marrying him, but to no avail, and ended up marrying his business manager, Ralph Ashcroft.

Twain sacked Lyon in 1909, claiming she had tried to steal from him and had attained power of attorney over him by "hypnotising" him for three years.

He also claimed Lyon tried to seduce him by lying around the house in "silken dainties", but he refused to succumb.

Over 400 pages of the manuscript are given over to Lyon, whom Twain denounced as a "filthy-minded and salacious slut".

"He spent five months of the last 12 months he was alive writing about Isabel Lyon," the Telegraph quoted Laura Trombley, author of Mark Twain's Other Woman: The Hidden Story of His Final Years, who has seen the manuscript, as saying.

"He was obsessed with her. It reveals Twain at his nastiest.

"This is Twain probably at his most unpleasant and angriest and most vindictive. I think it will pretty much shatter the popular impression of a cheerful old man who went wise cracking to his grave. He really wanted to haunt her to the grave.

"There's this popular conception of him being carved out of marble and pure. But he smoked an average of 300 cigars a month, and he drank every day. He was a very sexual person," she added.

The autobiography is to be published in three volumes by the University of California, Berkeley, which holds the documents in a vault. The first will be released to coincide with Twain's 175th birthday on November 30.

Twain, author of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was a towering figure in his own lifetime, lauded as the greatest American humorist of his age, and the father of American literature.

Historians say his autobiography could cast him in a new light, detailing personal scores he wanted to settle, uncomplimentary views of contemporaries, and his religious and political convictions.

According to the publishers it will reveal an "authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humour, ideas and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave as he intended". (ANI)

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