Franklin’s Autobiography is the only enduring best-seller written in America before the nineteenth century, as well as the most popular autobiography ever written.As such it deserves to be offered to twentieth-century readers in the most accurate form possible, and so it is, in this Norton Critical Edition, the first text to be edited directly from the manuscripts, rather than perpetuating the errors of previous editions.
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Benjamin Franklin was a writer, inventor, political theorist, diplomat, and Founding Father of the United States. He wrote under the pen name of Poor Richard from 1732 to 1757.
J.A. Leo Lemay is H. F. du Pont Winterthur Professor of English at the University of Delaware. His publications include Men of Letters in Colonial Maryland, A Calendar of American Poetry in the Colonial Newspapers and Magazines, and The Frontiersman from Lout to Hero. He has just completed New England’s Annoyances: America’s First Folk Song and is writing a book on the creation of American humor, 1607–1800.
P.M. Zall, Professor of English and American Studies, California State University, Los Angeles, has edited Nathaniel Ward’s Simple Cobler of Aggawam in America, Comical Spirit of Seventy-Six: The Humor of Francis Hopkinson, Ben Franklin Laughing: Anecdotes from Original Sources by and about Ben Franklin, and most recently, Abe Lincoln Laughing. He is compiling a bibliography of English and American jestbooks.
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