Mark Twain's Letters, Volume 4: 1870–1871

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University of California Press, Dec 27, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 850 pages
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"You ought to see Livy & me, now-a-days—you never saw such a serenely satisfied couple of doves in all your life. I spent Jan 1, 2, 3 & 5 there, & left at 8 last night. With my vile temper & variable moods, it seems an incomprehensible miracle that we two have been right together in the same house half the time for a year & a half, & yet have never had a cross word, or a lover's 'tiff,' or a pouting spell, or a misunderstanding, or the faintest shadow of a jealous suspicion. Now isn't that absolutely wonderful? Could I have had such an experience with any other girl on earth? I am perfectly certain I could not. . . . We are to be married on Feb. 2d."

So begins Volume 4 of the letters, with Samuel Clemens anticipating his wedding to Olivia L. Langdon. The 338 letters in this volume document the first two years of a loving marriage that would last more than thirty years. They recount, in Clemens's own inimitable voice, a tumultuous time: a growing international fame, the birth of a sickly first child, and the near-fatal illness of his wife.

At the beginning of 1870, fresh from the success of The Innocents Abroad, Clemens is on "the long agony" of a lecture tour and planning to settle in Buffalo as editor of the Express. By the end of 1871, he has moved to Hartford and is again on tour, anticipating the publication of Roughing It and the birth of his second child. The intervening letters show Clemens bursting with literary ideas, business schemes, and inventions, and they show him erupting with frustration, anger, and grief, but more often with dazzling humor and surprising self-revelation. In addition to Roughing It, Clemens wrote some enduringly popular short pieces during this period, but he saved some of his best writing for private letters, many of which are published here for the first time.
 

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Contents

18701871
1
Genealogies of the Clemens and Langdon Families
533
Enclosures with the Letters
539
Lecture Schedule 18711872
557
Boston Lyceum Bureau Advertising Circular
561
Book Contracts
565
Photographs and Manuscript Facsimiles
569
1 Description of Texts
587
2 Description of Provenance
589
3 Textual Commentaries
597
References
697
Index
741
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, and Lin Salamo are editors with the Mark Twain Project at The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

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