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

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9781441778437: Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1: The Complete and Authoritative Edition

[Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith and other editors of the Mark Twain Project]

''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 The strict instruction that many of these texts remain unpublished for one hundred years meant that when they came out, he would be ''dead, and unaware, and indifferent,'' and that he was therefore free to speak his ''whole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 one hundredth anniversary of Twain's death. In celebration of this important milestone, here, for the first time, is Mark Twain's uncensored autobiography, in its entirety, exactly as he left it. This major literary event offers the first of three 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.

Edited by the staff of the Mark Twain Papers & Project at the University of California, Berkeley; Robert H. Hirst, General Editor

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From the Inside Flap:

"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.

"To say that the editors have done an extremely good job is a little like saying the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel does a good job of keeping the rain off the Pope's head. It is true but it doesn't give even a whiff of the grandeur of the thing."—Robert D. Richardson, author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire

"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

About the Author:

MARK TWAIN (1835-1910) was born Samuel L. Clemens in the town of Florida, Missouri. One of the most popular and influential authors our nation has ever produced, his keen wit and incisive satire earned him praise from both critics and peers. He has been called not only the greatest humorist of his age but the father of American literature.

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