Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 by Mark Twain

80%

8 Critic Reviews

This was his version of reality, and what an entertaining record it is. Twain has given us "an astonishment" in his autobiography with his final, beautifully unorganized genius and intemperate thoughts. Pull up a chair and revel.
-LA Times

Synopsis

"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 The strict instruction that many of these texts remain unpublished for 100 years meant that when they came out, he would be "dead, and unaware, and indifferent," and that he was therefore free to speak his "whole frank mind."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.

Editors:

Harriet E. Smith, Benjamin Griffin, Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, Sharon K. Goetz, Leslie Myrick
 

About Mark Twain

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Samuel Langhorne Clemans, known to most as Mark Twain, has been hailed by many as the father of American Literature. His two most famous works, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), are considered two of the greatest American novels of all time. Twain was born in Florida, Missouri on 30th November 1835. He grew up in the town of Hannibal on the Mississippi River, which would eventually serve as the basis for the place where Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn would live. Twain grew up in Missouri at a time when it was a slave state. After the American Civil War broke out, he became a strong supporter of emancipation, and staunchly believed that the slave trade should be abolished. Though he began as a comic writer, the tribulations he faced in his personal life perhaps served to turn him into a serious, even pessimistic, writer in his later years. He lost his wife and two daughters, and his ill-fated life never really allowed him to recover. Twain passed away in 1910, but he is still one of the best-loved writers around the world.
 
Published November 15, 2010 by University of California Press. 736 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Feb 13 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1
All: 8 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 1

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Sep 27 2010

Twain's memoirs are a pointillist masterpiece from which his vision of America—half paradise, half swindle—emerges with indelible force.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Tim Adams on Nov 20 2010

Twain's great virtue as a writer, his genius, was his deliberate refusal of borrowed propriety or scale. The tallest of tales could be fashioned from the most modest of ingredients. That skill is fully on display here...

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Gene Bowker on Oct 14 2010

The beginning of Volume One takes us on a journey by the editors of the project to sort through manuscripts...I highly recommend the Autobiography of Mark Twain to all readers to truly learn more about Twain.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by MALLIKA RAO on Nov 10 2010

Twain shunned chronology or any kind of organization, preferring to dictate whatever thoughts were on his mind...His ”whole frank mind,” sharp and funny, is seared onto every page.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Laura Skandera Trombley on Nov 14 2010

This was his version of reality, and what an entertaining record it is. Twain has given us "an astonishment" in his autobiography with his final, beautifully unorganized genius and intemperate thoughts. Pull up a chair and revel.

Read Full Review of Autobiography of Mark Twain, ... | See more reviews from LA Times

The Telegraph

Below average
Reviewed by Jonathan Bate on Nov 21 2010

He charms. He energises. But he does go on and on, and sometimes you really rather wish that he would stop.

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About.com

Good
Reviewed by John M. Formy-Duval on Mar 09 2016

All of the documents contained within this volume have been published elsewhere, but no venue has provided more scholarly elucidation than one finds here. This volume will stand the test of time.

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St. Louis Today

Good
Reviewed by HAROLD K. BUSH JR. on Nov 14 2010

Thus does Twain admit to his own limits of perception. And thus does the enigma of Mark Twain recede even further into the ooze of history. Again, perhaps just as he wanted. Still, it is great and fun reading along the way.

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Reader Rating for Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1
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