When the first volume of Mark Twain's uncensored Autobiography was published in 2010, it was hailed as an essential addition to the shelf of his works and a crucial document for our understanding of the great humorist's life and times. Read more...
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When the first volume of Mark Twain's uncensored Autobiography was published in 2010, it was hailed as an essential addition to the shelf of his works and a crucial document for our understanding of the great humorist's life and times. This third and final volume crowns and completes his life's work. Like its companion volumes, it chronicles Twain's inner and outer life through a series of daily dictations that go wherever his fancy leads.
Created from March 1907 to December 1909, these dictations present Mark Twain at the end of his life: receiving an honorary degree from Oxford University; railing against Theodore Roosevelt; founding numerous clubs; incredulous at an exhibition of the Holy Grail; credulous about the authorship of Shakespeare's plays; relaxing in Bermuda; observing (and investing in) new technologies. The Autobiography's -Closing Words- movingly commemorate his daughter Jean, who died on Christmas Eve 1909. Also included in this volume is the previously unpublished -Ashcroft-Lyon Manuscript, - Mark Twain's caustic indictment of his -putrescent pair- of secretaries and the havoc that erupted in his house during their residency.
Fitfully published in fragments at intervals throughout the twentieth century, Autobiography of Mark Twain has now been critically reconstructed and made available as it was intended to be read. Fully annotated by the editors of the Mark Twain Project, the complete Autobiography emerges as a landmark publication in American literature.
Editors: Benjamin Griffin and Harriet Elinor Smith
Associate Editors: Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, Amanda Gagel, Sharon K. Goetz, Leslie Diane Myrick, Christopher M. Ohge
- ISBN-13: 9780520279940
- ISBN-10: 0520279948
- Publisher: University of California Press
- Publish Date: October 2015
- Page Count: 792
Series: Mark Twain Papers #3
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-09-07
- Reviewer: Staff
This third and final volume of Twain's half-million-word autobiography begins with an amusing reminiscence about a rascally jewelry salesman, dictated in 1907, and ends with a wail of anguish over the tragic death of his daughter, Jean, in 1909. In between, there occur all manner of engrossing events and experiences, including Twain's receipt of an honorary degree from Oxford University, employment of a man masquerading as a housemaid, luncheon with George Bernard Shaw, travels abroad to England and Bermuda, and audiences with Andrew Carnegie and other famous personalities of the day. Twain recalls his twilight years' main events in roughly chronological order, but each serves as a touchstone for digressions and reveries on experiences described in his autobiography's two earlier volumes. Twain's expansiveness occasionally deflates into numbing levels of detail, but he is usually as sharp and witty here as he in his fiction, particularly when gleefully goring his favorite bête noir, President Theodore Roosevelt. Life, in Twain's opinion, is a "procession of episodes and experiences which seem large when they happen, but which diminish to trivialities as soon as we get perspective upon them." This fascinating volume gives lie to that assertion, and closes the book on the remarkable life of one of America's most outstanding literary talents. With extensive scholarly annotations. B+w photos. (Oct.)