The University of California Press is publishing the “Autobiography of Mark Twain” in a series of three volumes one hundred years after his death, as he ordered before dying.
Most of the content was dictated to a stenographer in the four years before he died, because he wanted it to be more coloquial than if he wrote it.
It’s not the first time that his authobiography got published but never in the full version. Only now all his texts are being published and showing a more political person than most of us thought he was.
It has been such a success that it is always sold out even with the printer in Michigan producing 30,000 copies a week.
Mark Twain was his pen name and his real one was Samuel Langhorne Clemens and he was not only a novelist but also a travel correspondent, a steamboat pilot, a miner, an inventor, a social critic, a lecturer and a journalist. With such a a rich and varied life and being capable of telling so good stories, it’s not surprising that it’s Autobiography was going to be good and entertaining.
He was a great humorist but only with this new Autobiography we can see he was very political. Those political views are only now shared because he and his heirs thought it would damage his image if it was known before. That is the reason why, only now, the complete text is published and Americans are discovering some of its sharp observations about American life that at the time could have ruined his name.
The publisher also created a Web site, thisismarktwain.com, with audio, black-and-white photos and a timeline of Twain’s life.
As an exemple of his critics here’s an excerpt about the American business ckass:
“The multimillionaire disciples of Jay Gould — that man who in his brief life rotted the commercial morals of this nation and left them stinking when he died — have quite completely transformed our people from a nation with pretty high and respectable ideals to just the opposite of that; that our people have no ideals now that are worthy of consideration; that our Christianity which we have always been so proud of — not to say vain of — is now nothing but a shell, a sham, a hypocrisy; that we have lost our ancient sympathy with oppressed peoples struggling for life and liberty; that when we are not coldly indifferent to such things we sneer at them, and that the sneer is about the only expression the newspapers and the nation deal in with regard to such things.”
If you’re interested on the book you can buy it from Amazon: