24 Jul

“….. a complete and purposed jumble” was what Twain referred to as his attempts at writing his own biography. His ‘start and stop’ manuscript, based on 5000 autobiographical pages, spans the distance, end to end, of a trilogy with the first volume clocking in at 760 pages.

The University of California, Berkeley has had the manuscript in a vault for the past century, and at the behest of Mark Twain, could not publish the book until 100 years after his death (ever the consummate self-ascribed publicist, even in death).

In life, the face he showed was that of a crusty humorist, but in reality all he really was, was just crusty. It appears that he was critical, cruel and he disliked more than he liked.

Mark Twain, who penned Tom Sawyer; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Prince and the Pauper; among other tomes, spent the last few years of his life within the minutia of childhood reminisces and vitriolic diatribes. He wrote, among other things, about religious exegesis; politics; what emotionally moved him; friendships or lack thereof; and, on every page, honed within the backdrop, is evidence of his astonishing, lightning-quick wit.

Reading this book has been an enlightening experience and, for me, has shed new light on the quintessentially American novelist … posthumously published, Twain generously provides us with a marvelous read, yet once again.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens
Mark Twain


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