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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

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GENIUS

Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered--either by themselves or by others.
- Autobiography of Mark Twain

It is impossible that a genius--at least a literary genius--can ever be discovered by his intimates; they are so close to him that he is out of focus to them and they can't get at his proportions; they can't perceive that there is any considerable difference between his bulk and their own.
- Autobiography of Mark Twain, (reference to Jim Gillis)

Hunger is the handmaid of genius.
- Following the Equator

...genius itself succeeds only by arduous self-training...to play on the fiddle it is not merely necessary to take a bow and fiddle with it.
- "Contributors Club," Atlantic, 1/1877
Twins of Genius tour
Sam Clemens with
George Washington Cable
during the Twins of Genius tour.
Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson.

Geniuses are people who dash off wierd, wild, incomprehensible poems with astonishing facility, & then go & get booming drunk & sleep in the gutter. Genius elevates a man to ineffable speres [sic] far above the vulgar world, & fills his soul with a regal contempt for the gross & sordid things of earth. It is probably on account of this that people who have genius do not pay their board, as a general thing.
- Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals, vol. 1, 1855-1873, p. 250.

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