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Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1

by Mark Twain

Other authors: Benjamin Griffin (Editor), Harriet Elinor Smith (Editor)

Series: Autobiography of Mark Twain (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,895337,104 (3.97)18
Presents Mark Twain's authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave as he intended."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 The strict instruction that many of these texts remain unpublished for 100 years meant that when they came out, he would be "dead, and unaware, and indifferent," and that he was therefore free to speak his "whole frank mind."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 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. - Publisher.… (more)
  1. 20
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» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
CTA commuters will prefer marktwainproject.org to the hardcover doorstop, especially since the scholarly version is best taken in small doses. It's said to honor Twain's 100-year ban on publication, taken so he can write frankly. Clemens indeed can be droll even as he lets 'er rip, as in a "helpful" flame to a pompous editor. But three executors have published the best of this material, including charming annotations to a biography by Clemens' daughter Susy. The rest easily could have fit another Twain scheme to republish existing works with ephemera just to extend his copyrights. But fans still will appreciate the editors' biographical notes and insight into his writing process.
  rynk | Jul 11, 2021 |
Third star only because this seems to be as complete and scholarly as possible. But less than half of this book was of interest to this Twain lover. I rather I had read a good biography. This is for the specialist. ( )
  KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
In many ways, it's like sitting by the fire and listening to your amazing grandfather talk about his amazing life. ( )
  dasam | Jun 21, 2018 |
Not so much an autobiography as a collection of miscellaneous essays, reflections, and stale grudges dredged up for their comedic effect - this book is all over the place. I was nearly half way through before there was even one essay about Twain's childhood or family. Most of the content was character sketches of other people, be they politicians, old landlords, or editors. These writings are all amusing or interesting, but don't provide much insight into the man himself. Clearly this was the intention, as the author often mentions his disinterest in creating a comprehensive overview of his life. Instead, he uses the specter of an autobiography to sound off about whatever interests him or comes to mind.

For myself, I don't really care what Twain intended. He never finished his autobiography, so anything posthumously published is essentially a construct. I felt misled by this book's title and a bit annoyed even as I was entertained by the great man's random memories. This should really be called "collected writings" or something similar. ( )
  Juva | Jun 8, 2018 |
If you like Mark Twain's writing then you should like this. I have found it a fun read and picked up some great quotes along the way. ( )
  bness2 | May 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
That century has passed now and here it is, Volume 1 of “The Complete Authentic Unexpurgated Edition, Nothing Has Been Omitted, Not Even Scandalous Passages Likely to Cause Grown Men to Gasp and Women to Collapse in Tears — No Children Under 7 Allowed to Read This Book Under Any Circumstance,” which made Sam front-page news when all three volumes of the “Autobiography of Mark Twain” were announced last spring. The book turns out to be a wonderful fraud on the order of the Duke and the Dauphin in their Shakespearean romp, and bravo to Samuel Clemens, still able to catch the public’s attention a century after he expired.

He speaks from the grave, he writes, so that he can speak freely — “as frank and free and unembarrassed as a love letter” — but there’s precious little frankness and freedom here and plenty of proof that Mark Twain, in the hands of academics, can be just as tedious as anybody else when he is under the burden of his own reputation. Here, sandwiched between a 58-page barrage of an introduction and 180 pages of footnotes, is a ragbag of scraps, some of interest, most of them not....
 
Occasionally, maybe once in 50 pages, the old man will go on a little too long. His dreams, dietary problems and complaints about stock-market reversals are as boring as yours and mine. Many of the news stories he fixates on seem dated now. On the whole, however, this volume is hard to stop reading. Twain's prosody is so sure, and his powers of observation and selection so great, that he can take the most unpromising material—a real-estate deed, a letter from a would-be author—and make it glitter, like dull stone that turns out to be quartz or even diamond. Like Nabokov, he knew how to "caress the details, the divine details."
 
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.
added by sduff222 | editPublishers Weekly
 
Before his death in 1910, Mark Twain left instructions that his autobiography, on which he'd been working by fits and starts, be left unpublished for 100 years. Now, at the century mark, from the army of Twain scholars at the University of California's Mark Twain Project, comes the dazzling first volume of the ultimate, authoritative three-volume 'Autobiography of Mark Twain' With no fear of reprisals, always in the center of mid-19th-century America's political, social, and cultural life, and acquainted with everyone of note, Twain wrote briskly and both favorably and fiercely on how he felt about people and events. Twain's writing here is electric, alternately moving and hilarious. He couldn't write a ho-hum sentence. Disappointed with other systems of organization, Twain settled on writing on a topic that interested him before switching to another when it so moved him. To read this volume is to be introduced to Twain as if, thrillingly, for the first time. A 58-page introduction, 138 pages of 'Preliminary Manuscripts and Dictations,' 176 pages of 'Explanatory Notes,' and a section of 'Family Biographies' (all freshly fascinating) round out the volume. VERDICT: Enthusiastically recommended. This may overwhelm Twain newcomers, but it is essential for specialists.
added by sduff222 | editLibrary Journal, Charles C. Nash
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Twainprimary authorall editionscalculated
Griffin, BenjaminEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, Harriet ElinorEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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This LT work is Volume 1 of the complete, uncensored Autobiography of Mark Twain, withheld from publication for 100 years after Samuel Clemens' death (1910) and first published by the University of California Press in 2010. Please do not combine it with any other edition(s), excerpt(s) or selection(s) from the Autobiography of Mark Twain. Thank you.
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Presents Mark Twain's authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave as he intended."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 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 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. - Publisher.

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Book description
Pendant les dernières années de sa vie , Mark Twain - écrivain le plus célèbre de son temps - s'est consacré à l'écriture d'une immense autobiographie ...

With 450 pages of biography and another 200 pages of notes, I sure am glad this thing has an index!
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Legacy Library: Mark Twain

Mark Twain has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

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University of California Press

2 editions of this book were published by University of California Press.

Editions: 0520267192, 0520272250

 

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