Clara Clemens

Clara Clemens (1874-1962), the middle daughter of Sam Clemens, was the preserver of the Mark Twain persona and only daughter to survive her father. From the time when she and her sisters were very young, they had always listened to their father's works in progress, giving him instant feedback as he went along, but as they got older she was forced out of the sacred loop and out of favor with her father. Trombley, in her Mark Twain in the Company of Women, explains that her tumultuous relationship with her father eventually resulted in her gaining a "villainous" reputation(16). She then goes to explain that this reputation was essentially created by her father's personal assistant Isabel Lyon, who swooned all over him and referred to him as King, and that the two women did not get along. Trombley conjectures on some of the sources of this unfavorable relationship with Clemens:

"In order to treat Clara and the obvious alienation between her and Clemens fairly, one must examine the role Clara was reduced to playing in the family drama. At the age of thirty, with her mother and sister dead, Clara was assigned the caretaker. Dealing with Clemens had never been easy for her mother, a woman Clemens idolized, and now Clara had the task of trying to fulfill her mother's role while her father still grieved his favorite daughter's loss and openly claimed to hate the human race after the the loss of his wife. It must must have been painfully clear to Clara that her father's fondest thoughts were limited to her childhood. He had no place for her as an adult."(Trombley 17)

In addition, both her parents, Sam and Olivia, were unsupportive of her singing career from the beginning. When she was thirty-five, she married classical pianist Ossip Gabrilowitsch and went to Europe, leaving her "ailing father and epileptic sister" to fend for themselves. Criticism of this relationship has been thrown in both directions but, nevertheless, their relationship was not entirely damnable. Clemens tried to show his love for Clara and Jean by firing Isabella Lyon(Trombley 181) and Clara tried to show her love for him by "carefully preserving" her father's image right up until her death in 1962(Trombley 5).

Since Clara's and Jean's roles were mostly limited to being an audience member and source of childhood inspiration while they were young, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what kind of influence Clara had on any of the characters. The only character she might share something with is Becky for the time Clemens appeared to appreciate Clara the most was when she was a young girl, a young girl like Becky. Otherwise, the connections are slim and nebulous:




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