Mark Twain? Lawrence Pearsall Jacks? Apocryphal?
Question for Quote Investigator: The famous author Mark Twain once surprisingly proclaimed that he had done “not a day’s work in all my life”. He stated that his efforts in life had “been play”. Would you please help me to find a citation for his fascinating comments?
Reply from Quote Investigator: In 1905 “The New York Times” published an interview with the well-known U.S. humorist under the title “Mark Twain: A Humorist’s Confession”. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1905 November 26, The New York Times, Section: Magazine, Mark Twain: A Humorist’s Confession, Quote Page 1, Column 1, New York. (Newspapers_com)
Mark Twain will be 70 years old on Thanksgiving Day, and he has never done a day’s work in his life. He told me so himself, sitting in one of the cheerful, spacious rooms of the old-fashioned stately New York house which he will probably call his city home as long as he lives. I probably started upon hearing this unlooked-for statement from the lips of the good, gray humorist, for he repeated emphatically:
“No, Sir, not a day’s work in all my life. What I have done I have done, because it has been play. If it had been work I shouldn’t have done it.
“Who was it who said, ‘Blessed is the man who has found his work?’ Whoever it was he had the same idea in his mind. Mark you, he says his work—not somebody else’s work. The work that is really a man’s own work is play and not work at all. Cursed is the man who has found some other man’s work and cannot lose it. When we talk about the great workers of the world we really mean the great players of the world. The fellows who groan and sweat under the weary load of toil that they bear never can hope to do anything great. How can they when their souls are in a ferment of revolt against the employment of their hands and brains?”
Additional details and citations are available in the article on the Medium platform which is located here.
|↑1||1905 November 26, The New York Times, Section: Magazine, Mark Twain: A Humorist’s Confession, Quote Page 1, Column 1, New York. (Newspapers_com)|