Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Mark Twain at Duino Castle
Mark Twain's responses to a guestbook questionnaire at Duino Castle, on display in the Castle museum. Twain visited Duino in May, 1899, while staying in Nuremberg. 12 years later, between October 1911 and May 1912, Rilke would stay there and find inspiration for his Duino Elegies. Twain's responses to the questionnaire are as follows:
Name and position
(geb. S.L. Clemens)
Ambassador at large U.S.A.
Nürnberg, May 29, 1899
The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it
That I may pass for what I ought to be, not what I am
Favorite author or composer
Das Rauchen [ie. smoking]
The Jungle Books
Old gold (22 karat)
Pure water, adulterated with Scotch whisky
p.s -In 1897, Twain spoke to the Concordia Press Club in Vienna in German, amusing his audience with the speech "Die Schrecken der deutschen Sprache" ("The Horrors of the German Language") For readers with even a rudimentary familiarity with German, Twain's literal translation of the speech into English is equally hilarious.