Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2
The Complete and Authoritative Edition
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
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 b te 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.