Kaplan, prize-winning Twain biographer, dead at 88
NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Kaplan, an author and cultural historian with a taste for troublemaking who wrote a definitive, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Mark Twain and spiced the popular canon as general editor of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, has died. He was 88.
His wife, author Anne Bernays, said Kaplan died Sunday night at a hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after battling Parkinson’s disease for several years.
“Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain,” released in 1966, was praised as a landmark in Twain scholarship, a stylish and acute account of the rowdy Missouri native and Western humorist who attempted, imperfectly, to fit in with the U.S. Eastern elite. Simply using Twain as a pen name, Kaplan observed, signified a life divided against itself.
“Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain” won the Pulitzer and the National Book Award.