[Hac-announce] Getting Twain's Quote Right

Thomas Platt tplatt13 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 4 14:39:19 EDT 2014

Since I quoted Twain from a memory formed long ago in my introduction to a Conversations session on death, this follow-up seems appropriate. - Tom Platt

What Twain said as best I could remember, and in my abridged form:
"Death holds no fear for me.  I've already tried it - before I was born - and with no ill effects.  I'll simply be going back to where I came from. Etc."  Mark Twain

What he is quoted as actually saying from the last quote this section at
Wikiquotes http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mark_Twain#Mark_Twain.27s_Autobiography_.281924.29
"Annihilation has no terrors for me, because I have already tried it before I was born—a hundred million years—and I have suffered more in an hour, in this life, than I remember to have suffered in the whole hundred million years put together. There was a peace, a serenity, an absence of all sense of responsibility, an absence of worry, an absence of care, grief, perplexity; and the presence of a deep content and unbroken satisfaction in that hundred million years of holiday which I look back upon with a tender longing and with a grateful desire to resume, when the opportunity comes."

If you click on the link to the text below the above quote, Twain begins at the bottom of page 68:
"But I have long ago lost my belief in immortality - also my interest in it.  I can say, now, what I could not say while alive - things which it would shock people to hear; things which I could not say when alive because I would be aware of that shock and would certainly spare myself the personal pain of inflicting it."  (Also see the heading at the top of p. 68.)

By the way, the above wikiquote piece has a list of mis-atributions at the end.  And you may be interested in this from Richard Siddall:
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