The following is a Gaslight project....
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The original question was to identify the reader in the picture below and, if possible, what he is reading.
This is the clue which was offered:
The puzzle is the frontispiece to an 1894 book about Siamese twins.
Here's a photograph of the twins depicted on the poster in the frontispiece.
The first correct respondent was Kay Douglas, who wrote:
that looks extraordinarily like Mark Twain... could this be the inspiration for _Those Extraordinary Twins_? ... and I found a site at the University of Virginia with the same illustration: http://etext.virginia.edu/railton/wilson/mttwins.html But I was wrong about which Siamese Twins he's looking at.... have now learned that it was the Italian Tocci twins, Giovanni and Giacomo, that inspired _Those Extraordinary Twins_, which got transformed into Pudd'nhead Wilson, etc. I finally got around to looking at the "clue" and realized those two didn't look at all Asian....
Yes this is the frontispiece from Twain's Those extraordinary twins (1894). Thanks, Kay, for the link to more of Twain's writings on twins. There is more information at that site for those who picked up on the connection with Pudd'nhead Wilson.
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