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ST. TWEL'MO

Diane Roberts remarks that a writer knows he or she has arrived when their book inspires a parody. It could also be said that many critics of St. Elmo found the book, despite its popularity, not to be taken seriously. One such individual was C.H. Webb, a Yankee humorist known for publishing Mark Twain's first book, The Jumping Frog and Other Sketches.

St. Twel'mo's alternative title is "The Cuneiform Cyclopedist of Chattanooga." Like many others who read the book, Webb was incredulous at Augusta's erudition so prominently displayed by the heroine, here renamed 'Etna.' The full 60-page parody, published in 1867, can be seen or downloaded in the pdf format here or on the link below.

"My story is done," Webb writes on the book's last page. "I am not aware that it has any moral, nor did I design any at the outset, beyond indicating the danger of leaving dictionaries in the way of children, and pointing that peculiarity in woman's nature which inspires them to love those who beat and bite them. However, if any can glean any other morals from it, they are at perfect liberty to do so."

"St. Twel'mo"