Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1, Reader’s Edition (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Calling Twain, “the poet of American life in the 19th century,” a friend emailed me an extended passage from this book, whose primary material is comprised of dictated memoirs Twain forbade to have published until 100 years after his death. In the passage, Twain lyrically recalls his experiences on a farm in his youth, immersing me in the farm environment: the stain of blackberries and walnut hulls, the sound of woodpeckers and pheasants, the autumn patterns of hickories and sumacs, the eating of a prize watermelon. Reading these words, I felt privileged to hear from this great American writer a voice rarely present in his novels and other writings. I take heart in my friend’s comment, that this is “a book to browse through in order to explore the workings of that cantankerous, brilliant mind.” ~ John

— From John

Description


The year 2010 marked the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain’s death. In celebration of this important milestone and in honor of the cherished tradition of publishing Mark Twain’s works, UC Press published Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1, the first of a projected three-volume edition of the complete, uncensored autobiography. The book became an immediate bestseller and was hailed as the capstone of the life’s work of America’s favorite author.

This Reader’s Edition, a portable paperback in larger type, republishes the text of the hardcover Autobiography in a form that is convenient for the general reader, without the editorial explanatory notes. It includes a brief introduction describing the evolution of Mark Twain’s ideas about writing his autobiography, as well as a chronology of his life, brief family biographies, and an excerpt from the forthcoming Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2—a controversial but characteristically humorous attack on Christian doctrine.

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.

Praise For…


“This is a book to treasure for all friends of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.”

— Acadiana Lifestyle Magazine

“Smith and her companion editors have accomplished a herculean task. . . . A more accurately arranged collection than any earlier edition.”

— American Literary Realism

“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

“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

“Now, common sense, at last. We have, emblazoned big as life on the paperback cover underneath Twain’s photo . . . the words ‘Reader’s Edition.’ The very idea of it is a winner. . . . It is less academically punctilious but indeed more reader-friendly.”

— Buffalo News

“This is a book for dipping, not plunging. Read, as Twain might put it, until interest pales, and then jump. It feels like a form of time travel.”

— New York Times/The Opinion Pages

“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

“Twain would approve!”

— Bookideas.com

“Twain’s writing here is electric, alternately moving and hilarious. He couldn’t write a ho-hum sentence.”

— Library Journal

“Twain's autobiography, finally available after a century, is a garrulous outpouring—and every word beguiles.”

— Wall Street Journal

“Twian’s ‘Final Plan’ has been released in a truly spectacular first volume of his posthumous ‘Autobiography’.”

— Vitali Vitaliev

“The bestseller chart is awash with memoirs -- but none offer the extreme reading of the Autobiography of Mark Twain.”

— Debra Craine

“A major achevement.”

— Choice

“Brimming with Twain’s humor, ideas and opinions, this is a book for anyone interested in the writer’s work and life.”

— Curledup.com

“His '’whole frank mind,’ sharp and funny, is seared onto every page. A”

— Entertainment Weekly

“Mission accomplished, Mr. Clemens.”

— Roger Boylan

“Promises a no-holds barred perspective on Twain’s life, and will be rich with rambunctious, uncompromising opinions.”

— Herald Scotland

“Pure Twain at his typically discursive, rambling, and droll. . . . The bard of Hannibal still has much to say.”

— American Heritage

“With the uncensored Twain finally here, we're the furthest thing from indifferent.”

— Time Magazine

New

— New York Times Book Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9780520272255
ISBN-10: 0520272250
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: March 26th, 2012
Pages: 440
Language: English
Series: Mark Twain Papers