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

Editorial Review - - Joe Hartlaub

The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Samuel Clemens, known to the world as Mark Twain. Clemens's work stands tall to this day; you can't tell me that THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER and A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT are not the greatgrandfathers of the modern American thriller novel. Yet one of his major projects has never seen the light ... Read full review

User reviews

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Let me start by saying that normally I love Mark Twain. And I wanted to love this book, I just couldn't. I lost patience about 200 pages in, and I now understand the role an editor would normally play in the writing process. I understand why it's important to have the complete version of what Mark Twain dictated, and for scholars, this is fantastic, but it just wasn't what I wanted to settle down and read after a long day's work. 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This book was published by and in online at Mark Twain was a pen name of Samuel Clemens. He Wrote Tom Sawyer and other books. When he was about 40 he started his autobiography, and gave up after writing some of it. Then every now and then he wrote a little more. In 1906 he started dictating more of his autobiography by just saying what he thought of for fun and to help his biographer. He also wanted his biography published after his death, with more and more of it published every 25 years -- but that was just an idea. When his daughter Clara died in 1962 she left his personal papers to the University of California, at Berkeley. They are publishing a critical edition of what he wrote. In the case of his Autobiography, Volume I, they have looked things up so that the end notes explain a little about who someone he refered to was. Much of the "Explanitory Notes" section reads sort of like a scrap book of obituaries. The book tells what Clemens did. He grew up in Hannibal, Missouri. He dropped out of school after the 6th grade. He then worked as an apprentice typesetter and worker. After the sixth grade, basically he was home schooled and self educated. He became a newspaper reporter. He then wrote and performed trevelogs, first about Hawaii and then about his trip around the world. He met his brother-in-law on his trip around the world and was introduced to his wife. He tried to run a paper in Buffalo, then moved to Hartford, CT, where the published of his book about his trip around the world was located. He and his wife and kids for some reason spent their summers on his sister-in-law's farm in Elmira, NY. She built him a little hut in her yard to be his "writer's retreat". He then wrote Tom Sawyer and some other books. He kept asking his published for more and more money and after about his sixth book, they fired him. He then published a couple of books by way of a vanity press, then started his own publishing house, named after its manager he hired. He tried to sell his books by subscription. I think that means he got door to door salesment to try to get boys to order his books in advance of printing them, rather than bookstores. But, what boys read? So, his firm went out of business. He then returned to public speaking to make money and pay off his debts. He was sort of a comedian. Because he was in his sixties when he returned to the platform, people remember him as having white hair, unlike his writer's publicity photos in which he has dark hair and no wrinkles. As his autobiography goes on, he starts using the work delightful. Toward the end of the Explanitory Notes section we learn he spoke with a slow drawl so maybe he kept his Southern accent even though he lived in Connecticut and New York State a long time. 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I was looking with anticipation to reading this book, thinking that it would be full of witticisms and typical Mark Twain humor. BORING!!! Autobiographers Smith and Goetz went out of their way to tell endless reasonings behind Twain's thinking as he tried to organize his thoughts. GET ON WITH IT. Hope future volumes get to the point..... 

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dasam - LibraryThing

In many ways, it's like sitting by the fire and listening to your amazing grandfather talk about his amazing life. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bness2 - LibraryThing

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. Read full review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

All reviews - 29
1 star - 1

All reviews - 29

All reviews - 29
Kirkus - 1