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Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1 (Mark Twain Papers)

by

Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1 (Mark Twain Papers) Cover

ISBN13: 9780520267190
ISBN10: 0520267192
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

At last, the wait is over! Exactly 100 years after his death, Mark Twain's autobiography is finally available. In this first of three volumes, the great Samuel Clemens tells his most epic tale of all: the frank and fascinating story of his remarkable life.
Recommended by Jeremy, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"I've struck it!" Mark Twain wrote in a 1904 letter to a friend. "And I will give it away — to you. You will never know how much enjoyment you have lost until you get to dictating your autobiography." Thus, after dozens of false starts and hundreds of pages, Twain embarked on his "Final (and Right) Plan" for telling the story of his life. His innovative notion — to "talk only about the thing which interests you for the moment" — meant that his thoughts could range freely. The strict instruction that these texts remain unpublished for 100 years meant that when they came out, he would be "dead, and unaware, and indifferent," and that he was therefore free to speak his "whole frank mind."

The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Twain's death. In celebration of this important milestone and in honor of the cherished tradition of publishing Mark Twain's works, UC Press is proud to offer for the first time Mark Twain's uncensored autobiography in its entirety and exactly as he left it. This major literary event brings to readers, admirers, and scholars the first of three essential volumes and presents Mark Twain's authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave as he intended.

Review:

"Mark Twain is his own greatest character in this brilliant self-portrait, the first of three volumes collected by the Mark Twain Project on the centenary of the author's death. It is published complete and unexpurgated for the first time. (Twain wanted his more scalding opinions suppressed until long after his death.) Eschewing chronology and organization, Twain simply meanders from observation to anecdote and between past and present. There are gorgeous reminiscences from his youth of landscapes, rural idylls, and Tom Sawyeresque japes; acid-etched profiles of friends and enemies, from his 'fiendish' Florentine landlady to the fatuous and 'grotesque' Rockefellers; a searing polemic on a 1906 American massacre of Filipino insurgents; a hilarious screed against a hapless editor who dared tweak his prose; and countless tales of the author's own bamboozlement, unto bankruptcy, by publishers, business partners, doctors, miscellaneous moochers; he was even outsmarted by a wild turkey. Laced with Twain's unique blend of humor and vitriol, the haphazard narrative is engrossing, hugely funny, and deeply revealing of its author's mind. His is a world where every piety conceals fraud and every arcadia a trace of violence; he relishes the human comedy and reveres true nobility, yet as he tolls the bell for friends and family — most tenderly in an elegy for his daughter Susy, who died in her early 20s of meningitis — he feels that life is a pointless charade. Twain's memoirs are a pointillist masterpiece from which his vision of America — half paradise, half swindle — emerges with indelible force. 66 photos and line illus. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"It will be unparalleled in the history of literature... a bequest to posterity." London Times

Review:

"Mark Twain, always so blithely ahead of his time, has just outdone himself: he's brought us an Autobiography from beyond the grave: a hundred-year-old relic that yet manages to accomplish something new. It anticipates the Cubism just taking form in Samuel Clemens's last years, by exploding the confines of orderliness, sequence, the dutiful march of this-then-that. In so doing, it gives us not simply Mark Twain's life — that is the prosaic work of biographers — but the ways in which he thought of his life: in all the fragmented recollection, distraction, creation, revision and dreaming that make up the true, divinely jumbled devices we all use to recapture experience and feeling. If this prodigious and prodigal pastiche were a machine, it would be the Paige typesetter — except that it works." Ron Powers, author of Mark Twain: A Life

Review:

"Mark Twain dictated much of this book — now it is a book at last — from a big rumpled bed. Reading it is a bit like climbing in there with him." Roy Blount, Jr.

Review:

"Sometimes the autobiography seems Twain's letter to posterity. At other times, reading it feels like eavesdropping on a conversation he is having with himself....This first installment of Twain's autobiography brings us closer to all of him than we have ever come before." New York Review of Books

Review:

"Dip into the first enormous volume of Twain's autobiography that he had decreed should not appear until 100 years after his death. And Twain will begin to seem strange again, alluring and still astonishing, but less sure-footed, and at times both puzzled and puzzling in ways that still resonate with us, though not the ways we might expect." New York Times

Review:

"Twain generously provides the 21st century aficionado a marvelous read. His crystalline humor and expansive range are a continuous source of delight and awe....[He] has given us 'an astonishment' in his autobiography with his final, beautifully unorganized genius and intemperate thoughts. Pull up a chair and revel." Los Angeles Times Book Review

Review:

"Promises a no-holds barred perspective on Twain's life, and will be rich with rambunctious, uncompromising opinions." Herald Scotland

About the Author

Harriet Elinor Smith is an editor at the Mark Twain Project, which is housed within the Mark Twain Papers, the world's largest archive of primary materials by this major American writer. Under the direction of General Editor Robert H. Hirst, the Project's editors are producing the first comprehensive edition of all of Mark Twain's writings.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 22 comments:

Michael McCue, January 20, 2012 (view all comments by Michael McCue)
Huge dense book, too much to absorb in one reading but well worth the effort. Clemons left instructions that these writings(dictations really)should not be published until one hundred years after his death. At first I thought that it was so mild that there was no good reason why it should not have been published earlier.However the comments on some public figures were quite severe. Twain said what he thought about Theodore Roosevelt and others. Perhaps it was best that they never saw what he thought. In today's world of Blogs there are fewer unpublished thoughts, that is a loss.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
VetBHamster, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by VetBHamster)
Expansive exploration of the ageless, brilliant intellect who still informs much of the constructive thought in our world today.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Laura Loves Books, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Laura Loves Books)
Mark Twain was such an interesting man, truly a character relative then and now. If you can get through the long demonstrative introduction you will find a treasure of a book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 22 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520267190
Author:
Twain, Mark
Publisher:
University of California Press
Editor:
Salamo, Lin
Editor:
Smith, Harriet E.
Author:
aelig
Author:
Bl
Author:
Salamo, Lin
Author:
Mich&amp
Author:
Frank, Michael B.
Author:
Frank, Mich&amp
Author:
Griffin, Benjamin
Author:
Fischer, Victor
Author:
l B. Frank
Author:
Smith, Harriet E.
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Twain, Mark
Subject:
Authors, American -- 19th century.
Subject:
American
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Mark Twain Papers
Series Volume:
The Complete and Aut
Publication Date:
20101131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
760
Dimensions:
10.25 x 7.25 in

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Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1 (Mark Twain Papers) Used Hardcover
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Product details 760 pages University of California Press - English 9780520267190 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

At last, the wait is over! Exactly 100 years after his death, Mark Twain's autobiography is finally available. In this first of three volumes, the great Samuel Clemens tells his most epic tale of all: the frank and fascinating story of his remarkable life.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Mark Twain is his own greatest character in this brilliant self-portrait, the first of three volumes collected by the Mark Twain Project on the centenary of the author's death. It is published complete and unexpurgated for the first time. (Twain wanted his more scalding opinions suppressed until long after his death.) Eschewing chronology and organization, Twain simply meanders from observation to anecdote and between past and present. There are gorgeous reminiscences from his youth of landscapes, rural idylls, and Tom Sawyeresque japes; acid-etched profiles of friends and enemies, from his 'fiendish' Florentine landlady to the fatuous and 'grotesque' Rockefellers; a searing polemic on a 1906 American massacre of Filipino insurgents; a hilarious screed against a hapless editor who dared tweak his prose; and countless tales of the author's own bamboozlement, unto bankruptcy, by publishers, business partners, doctors, miscellaneous moochers; he was even outsmarted by a wild turkey. Laced with Twain's unique blend of humor and vitriol, the haphazard narrative is engrossing, hugely funny, and deeply revealing of its author's mind. His is a world where every piety conceals fraud and every arcadia a trace of violence; he relishes the human comedy and reveres true nobility, yet as he tolls the bell for friends and family — most tenderly in an elegy for his daughter Susy, who died in her early 20s of meningitis — he feels that life is a pointless charade. Twain's memoirs are a pointillist masterpiece from which his vision of America — half paradise, half swindle — emerges with indelible force. 66 photos and line illus. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "It will be unparalleled in the history of literature... a bequest to posterity."
"Review" by , "Mark Twain, always so blithely ahead of his time, has just outdone himself: he's brought us an Autobiography from beyond the grave: a hundred-year-old relic that yet manages to accomplish something new. It anticipates the Cubism just taking form in Samuel Clemens's last years, by exploding the confines of orderliness, sequence, the dutiful march of this-then-that. In so doing, it gives us not simply Mark Twain's life — that is the prosaic work of biographers — but the ways in which he thought of his life: in all the fragmented recollection, distraction, creation, revision and dreaming that make up the true, divinely jumbled devices we all use to recapture experience and feeling. If this prodigious and prodigal pastiche were a machine, it would be the Paige typesetter — except that it works."
"Review" by , "Mark Twain dictated much of this book — now it is a book at last — from a big rumpled bed. Reading it is a bit like climbing in there with him."
"Review" by , "Sometimes the autobiography seems Twain's letter to posterity. At other times, reading it feels like eavesdropping on a conversation he is having with himself....This first installment of Twain's autobiography brings us closer to all of him than we have ever come before."
"Review" by , "Dip into the first enormous volume of Twain's autobiography that he had decreed should not appear until 100 years after his death. And Twain will begin to seem strange again, alluring and still astonishing, but less sure-footed, and at times both puzzled and puzzling in ways that still resonate with us, though not the ways we might expect."
"Review" by , "Twain generously provides the 21st century aficionado a marvelous read. His crystalline humor and expansive range are a continuous source of delight and awe....[He] has given us 'an astonishment' in his autobiography with his final, beautifully unorganized genius and intemperate thoughts. Pull up a chair and revel."
"Review" by , "Promises a no-holds barred perspective on Twain's life, and will be rich with rambunctious, uncompromising opinions."
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