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Round 3 begins! Mark Twain (4) vs. Mary Baker Eddy

After yesterday‘s John Waters victory, we’re now in the Round of 16:


Thanks again to Paul Davidson for providing the bracket. Remaining are 4 authors, 3 comedians, 3 cult figures, 1 founder of religion, 2 French intellectuals, 2 philosophers, 1 religious leader, and 0 artists.

Today’s lucha is a classic grudge match—Twain and Eddy have a feud going way back. So, let the mud be slung!

P.S. As always, here’s the background, and here are the rules.


  1. Anonymous says:

    According to wikipedia:

    In 1907 Mark Twain published a satirical diatribe attacking Eddy, entitled Christian Science:
    Mark Twain

    “We cannot peacefully agree as to her motives, therefore her character must remain crooked to some of us and straight to the others.

    No matter, she is interesting enough without an amicable agreement. In several ways she is the most interesting woman that ever lived, and the most extraordinary. The same may be said of her career, and the same may be said of its chief result. She started from nothing. Her enemies charge that she surreptitiously took from Quimby a peculiar system of healing which was mind-cure with a Biblical basis. She and her friends deny that she took anything from him. This is a matter which we can discuss by-and-by. Whether she took it or invented it, it was—materially—a sawdust mine when she got it, and she has turned it into a Klondike; its spiritual dock had next to no custom, if any at all: from it she has launched a world-religion which has now six hundred and sixty-three churches, and she charters a new one every four days. When we do not know a person—and also when we do—we have to judge his size by the size and nature of his achievements, as compared with the achievements of others in his special line of business—there is no other way. Measured by this standard, it is thirteen hundred years since the world has produced any one who could reach up to Mrs. Eddy’s waistbelt.”

    When Harper’s refused to publish an earlier essay of his on Christian Science in 1903, Twain interpreted the rejection as suppression caused by pressure from Christian Scientists and wrote, “The situation is not barren of humour. I had been doing my best to show in print that the Xn Scientist cult has become a power in the land – well, here is the proof: it has scared the biggest publisher in the Union.”

    Twain later offered another appraisal of Eddy, reported by his biographer Albert Bigelow Paine:

    I was at this period interested a good deal in mental healing, and had been treated for neurasthenia with gratifying results. Like most of the world, I had assumed, from his published articles, that [Twain] condemned Christian Science and its related practices out of hand. When I confessed, rather reluctantly, one day, the benefit I had received, he surprised me by answering:

    “Of course you have been benefited. Christian Science is humanity’s boon. Mother Eddy deserves a place in the Trinity as much as any member of it. She has organized and made available a healing principle that for two thousand years has never been employed, except as the merest kind of guesswork. She is the benefactor of the age.”

    It seemed strange, at the time, to hear him speak in this way concerning a practice of which he was generally regarded as the chief public antagonist. It was another angle of his many-sided character.

  2. zbicyclist says:

    Anyone who’s given such over the type hype as “she is the most interesting woman that ever lived, and the most extraordinary” is bound to be a disappointment.

    Val Kilmer is planning a film about Twain and Eddy
    although the newest ‘news’ on that website is from 2011, when Kilmer is still looking for funding.

  3. brianG says:

    shouldn’t twain get some sort of extra credit for having extremely high name recognition under two completely distinct names?

  4. David Blankley says:

    I’m confused how Twain made it this far.
    Most of us who were educated in the US got plenty of Twain in the 8th grade.
    Then again in 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th.
    We then self-selected away from more when we reached university.

    I can go see Holbrooke play Twain better than Twain with relative frequency.
    This reduces his value as a seminar speaker, and coincidentally, ties into why the living contestants are faring poorly.

    MBE on the other hand has succeeded in a field dominated by men.

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