In the last decade of his life, Mark Twain wrote three manuscripts around the theme of a Mysterious Stranger. The first manuscript was published by Harper Bros., but its editors had made so many changes that Twain scholars call it a fraud. This paper examines the damage done by the fraud to Twain's reputation and to our understanding of his later years. It examines the development of the theme of laughter from the first manuscript to the third, and it makes recommendations as to how the harm could best be corrected
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