Palmistry in Mark Twain

After struggling to get through the dialogue of the Mark Twain reading for Tuesday I wanted to Google a little bit more about palm reading. I’ve never done it myself, but I’ve always found it somewhat fascinating. And I was intrigued that Mark Twain decided to include the ancient art as one of Wilson’s talents…

I came across a website on Google and I’m not sure how reliable it is, but it explains the art of palm reading and what the different lines of the hand mean and so on. Then I got to the end of the information and read that Cheiro, in infamous astrologist and palm reader who lived in 1866-1936, accurately predicted events that were to happen to several famous personalities like Prince Edward, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and Marilyn Monroe. And apparently Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime was based off his experience with Cheiro.

I would have thought authors like Twain and Wilde were too cynical for something as unreliable as palm reading, but if both authors were impressed enough to include it in their novels, maybe I should go out and give it a try…

Here’s the link: Palmistry

One Response to “Palmistry in Mark Twain”

  1. Richards says:

    Thanks for the new historical move here, Jacklyn, of reminding us of the context of palmistry, but also keep in mind how Twain is using this practice imagistically and thematically to keep us thinking about to what degree our bodies entail and encode the “true” us, to have a parallel to those fingerprints that fascinate Pudd’nhead. These are, of course, interjected into a novel that largely presents itself as critical of the body’s centrality and rather as fully invested in cultural determinations of self. Roxy’s body is physically white, and yet she’s culturally established as black, just as all it takes is a switch of clothes with Tom and Chambers to realign their cultural determinations.