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Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition [Hardcover]

Mark Twain , Robert Hirst , Benjamin Griffin , Harriet E. Smith , Victor Fischer , Michael B. Frank , Sharon K. Goetz , Leslie Diane Myrick

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Book Description

Oct. 5 2013 0520272781 978-0520272781 11th
Mark Twain’s complete, uncensored Autobiography was an instant bestseller when the first volume was published in 2010, on the centennial of the author’s death, as he requested. Published to rave reviews, the Autobiography was hailed as the capstone of Twain’s career. It captures his authentic and unsuppressed voice, speaking clearly from the grave and brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions.

The eagerly-awaited Volume 2 delves deeper into Mark Twain’s life, uncovering the many roles he played in his private and public worlds. Filled with his characteristic blend of humor and ire, the narrative ranges effortlessly across the contemporary scene. He shares his views on writing and speaking, his preoccupation with money, and his contempt for the politics and politicians of his day. Affectionate and scathing by turns, his intractable curiosity and candor are everywhere on view.

Editors: Benjamin Griffin and Harriet E. Smith
Associate Editors: Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, Sharon K. Goetz and Leslie Diane Myrick
 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 776 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 11th edition (Oct. 5 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520272781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520272781
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 19.1 x 6.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The great American author, aided by his scholarly editors, continues to spin out a great yarn covering his long life. . . . Twain admirers will find this volume indispensable and wil eagerly await the third volume." STARRED REVIEW
(Kirkus Reviews 2013-07-01)

"Meticulously edited. . . . A treasure deserving shelf space next to Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer." STARRED REVIEW
(Bryce Christensen Booklist 2013-09-15)

"Twain is incapable of going more than a few paragraphs without making you laugh or think hard. . . . Don't loan this book out: you'll never see it again."
(Bloomberg Pursuits 2013-10-01)

"Another delightful round of humor and candor, reminiscence and insider sketches of the people and politics of Twain’s day."
(The Sacramento Bee 2013-09-28)

"Contains more of Twain’s ranging, astute, and unfailingly candid portrayals of his private and public lives. Excoriations of politicians appear next to affectionate family stories and bemused observations on the absurdities of life, helping to fill out our understanding of America’s greatest humorist."
(The New Yorker, Page-Turner 2013-10-02)

"Set aside all ideas of starting at the beginning and reading through to the end. This is a book to keep on your bedside table, or in the kitchen, or the garage, or anyplace else you might want to pick it up. Follow Clemens' own advice in reading it, as he did in writing it: Start reading at no particular point; wander at your free will all over it; read only about the thing that interests you for the moment; drop it the moment its interest threatens to pale; and turn your eye upon the new and more interesting thing that has intruded itself into your gaze meantime. Believe me, there are plenty of these in this wonderful volume."
(The Hartford Courant 2013-10-03)

"One sees a mind bubbling and hears a uniquely American voice."
(Literary Review 2013-10-01)

"Twain traveled extensively and befriended many luminaries, and his colorful experiences give the book the same Dickensian scope as the first volume, and presents a vivid picture of America in the 19th century and Twain’s indelible mark on it."
(Publishers Weekly 2013-10-01)

"This is vintage Twain—timeless, and still germane."
(BookPage 2013-10-04)

"Twain is frequently sad and cynical in these late-in-life writings (just a few years before his death) but his devastating wit and sharp-eyed commentary are on full display as well."
(Christian Science Monitor)

"The publishing sensation of the year."
(Jonah Raskin San Francisco Chronicle 2013-10-11)

"What we’ve inherited is no ordinary book. You may begin at the beginning and read to its end; you may reach into it like a grab bag and enjoy whatever you pull out. It doesn’t matter."
(Dallas Morning News 2013-10-12)

"Twain ambles through eternal truths and trivia, telling of world events and personal piques. Witticisms appear at random intervals, and the ensuing laughter can be dangerous to the lower extremities if one doesn’t have a vicelike grip on this weighty tome."
(The Christian Science Monitor 2013-10-16)

"In case you had any doubt about it, the new book demonstrates that Twain dictated as well as he wrote."
(The Washington Post 2013-10-13)

"One of the more marvelous literary projects of our time."

(The Buffalo News 2013-10-20)

"As much a sensitive and articulate historical work as an autobiography, the book is almost inexhaustible in its content. . . . What seems like a mountain of anecdotal scraps and opinions results in a clear picture of Clemens as Twain."
(Library Journal 2013-11-15)

"If you surrender yourself to the sound of his voice, the pleasure of Twain’s company proves pretty hard to resist. His narrative may be loose, but at least it never loses sight of its subject."
(The New Yorker, Page-Turner 2013-11-14)

From the Inside Flap

Praise for Volume 1

“It feels like a form of time travel. One moment you’re on horseback in the Hawaiian islands — or recovering from saddle boils with a cigar in your mouth — and the next moment you’re meeting the Viennese maid he called, in a private joke, ‘Wuthering Heights.’ We can hardly wait for Volume 2.”— New York Times

“Twain's autobiography, finally available after a century, is a garrulous outpouring—and every word beguiles.”— Wall Street Journal

“I start reading Twain’s Autobiography at any page and don’t want to stop, for the sheer voluptuous pleasure of the prose.”— Roger Ebert

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  67 reviews
81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sheer Pleasure of Clemens' Company Sept. 20 2013
By Daneel Olivaw - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It was about 40 years ago that I, as a young man, fell in love with the writings of Mark Twain. My interest was less in his fiction (not to denigrate it) than in his non-fiction works: the travel books, the humanist essays, the political and religious commentary. Early on, I learned that Clemens had some autobiographical writings that he insisted not be published until 100 years after his death because he found it was the only way he could be completely honest about his feelings and opinions. I felt sorry for the Twain enthusiasts who would not live long enough to experience those writings and I wondered if I myself would make it.

Well, if you are reading these words, we both survived long enough to now enjoy the first two volumes of Clemens' unexpurgated autobiography and for me it was definitely worth the wait. Clemens' peculiar method of composing this book was not to arrange it chronologically or by subject matter, but to just dictate whatever anecdotes and memories that came to mind. It might be a newspaper clipping mentioning an old acquaintance that inspired him to talk about that person. The anniversary of his beloved wife's death quite naturally brought him to that subject. Though some question this unusual biographical form, I find it delightful because it reads as though you are visiting Clemens and listening to whatever he feels like talking about that day--jumping back and forth in time, going on tangents, etc. Some of his recollections will be familiar to those who have read the heavily edited autobiographies previously published, but here you get the authentic words of this American treasure.

This is a very thick book, over 700 pages, but only about 450 of those pages are Clemens' autobiographical dictations. The remaining 250 pages are explanatory notes, references, appendixes and the index. This is a work of scholarship and so these supporting materials are a gift to history even if they are of limited interest to the lay reader. But the meat of the book is wonderful for anyone who loves Mark Twain (there are a surprising number of us more than a century after his death) and I recommend this volume unreservedly.

Now let's see if I, much older and with a heart attack behind him, can survive for the next volume. But even if not, these two have been a great literary gift in my life. My best wishes to everyone who enjoys them as much as I did.
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twain Revisited -- Volume 2 Sept. 23 2013
By C. Hutton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As with the first volume that was published three years ago, this autobiography is an oversize hardbook which means it may not fit into a bookshelf with other more traditional hardbooks. Also this edition is a rambling text with no chronological sequence. Mark Twain told stories as he remembered them as they came to him.

The good news is that there is more narrative of Twain's memories (450+ pages) and that all of the scholarly information (280+ pages) is at the end, unlike Volume 1. The only complaint is that half of the end-notes should have been brief footnotes to explain the context of the events and persons. The reader will need to shuttle back and forth now. What the reader has here is Mark Twain's true speaking voice --he is doing a monologue in your presence, going wherever his memory takes him. And it is pretty funny as he comments on the events of his times and settles literary scores -- see his savage critique on Bret Harte (page 119), as an example. If the reader read Volume 1, this volume is even better.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twain Speaks Jan. 1 2014
By simon loekle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The fact that Mark Twain could have best-sellers in 3 successive centuries says something about him, and something about us. His preferred method of composition, at the end of his life, was dictation which gives the text a liveliness that is quite enchanting. Some may be put off by the wealth of annotation, but a job worth doing is worth doing right, so a grateful tip of the hat to the editors.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most human tale of a Giant's life Oct. 29 2013
By Robert Hogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The simpliest way to review this wonderful book is to say it is as though I was sitting on his lap and he was telling me these great stories as my Grandfather. His humanity pores off each page. No one does it better.
What a gift to the world he was and is.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Twain is the great american author Dec 31 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Throughout high school and college and for years after I heard about the quest for the great American novel. Only later in life did I understand that long before Vonnegut, Fitsgerald, and Hemingway that Twain had already written it and then repeated the performance.

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