Olivia Langdon Clemens was not only the love of Mark Twain's life
and the mother of his children, she was also his editor, muse,
critic and trusted advisor. She read his letters and speeches. He
relied on her judgment on his writing, and readily admitted that
she not only edited his work, but also edited his public persona.
Until now, little has been known about Livy's crucial place in
Twain's life. In Resa Willis's affecting and fascinating biography,
we meet a dignified, optimistic woman who married young, raised
three sons and a daughter, endured myriad health problems and money
woes and who faithfully traipsed all over the world with Twain -
Africa, Europe, Asia-while battling his moodiness and her frailty.
Twain adored her. A hard-drinking dreamer with an insatiable
wanderlust, he needed someone to tame him. It was Livy who
encouraged him to finish his autobiography even through the last
stages of her illness. When she died in 1904, Twain's zest for life
and writing was gone. He died six years later. A triumph of the
biographer's art, Mark and Livy presents the fullest picture yet of
one of the most influential women in American letters.
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