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Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition (Mark Twain Papers) Hardcover – October 5, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0520272781 ISBN-10: 0520272781 Edition: 1st

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Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition (Mark Twain Papers) + Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Vol. 1 + The Bible According to Mark Twain: Irreverent Writings on Eden, Heaven, and the Flood by America's Master Satirist
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Product Details

  • Series: Mark Twain Papers (Book 11)
  • Hardcover: 776 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1st edition (October 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520272781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520272781
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 2.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


Images and Insights from Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2


Billiards with Kitten
Samuel L. Clemens. Redding, Connecticut, 1908. Photograph taken by Isabel Lyon, Clemens’s secretary. Courtesy of the Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

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Standing Portrait
Samuel Clemens in Ontereora, NY. 1900. Courtesy of the Mark Twain Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

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Portrait
Samuel L. Clemens, 1851 or 1852. Reproduced from a print in the Mark Twain Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, which appears on the jacket of The Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 2 published by University of California Press (2013).

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Outdoors
Samuel L. Clemens with kitten. Photography by Underwood and Underwood, 1907, Tuxedo Park, New York. Courtesy of the Mark Twain Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

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Cock-tail letter
Extract of a letter from Samuel L. Clemens to his wife Olivia, 1874, London, England. Courtesy of the Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

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Leaves
Transcription of a letter from Samuel L. Clemens to his wife Olivia, 1874, London, England. Courtesy of the Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

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From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the second volume of this meticulously edited autobiography, readers hear Twain contrast his work with autobiographies giving readers “an open window” showcasing the famous people in the authors’ lives. His autobiography, Twain explains, serves not as a window but as “a mirror, and I am looking at myself in it all the time.” To be sure, this volume—comprising material Twain dictated between April 1906 and February 1907, two years before ending his dictation—does afford glimpses of notable contemporaries, including Bret Harte, James Russell Lowell, and Helen Keller. But the narrative repeatedly shows the novelist scrutinizing himself: watching, for instance, how he scowls at the depredations of Jay Gould, how he smiles at the antics of a pet cat, how he grieves at the anniversary of his wife’s death. The episodes of self-examination spin out—as Twain acknowledges—like an “excursion . . . that sidetracks itself” unpredictably. But Griffin and Smith’s careful annotations clarify the chronology running through Twain’s reflections about the face looking back at him from his mirror—now set in the perfect deadpan of a master humorist, now contorted with the acute anguish of a distressed soul. A treasure deserving shelf space next to Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. --Bryce Christensen

Customer Reviews

This book is well written and thoroughly enjoyed.
Susan E Pike
I noted with great interest in this volume he predicted the current bloated centralized government and semi-police state we find ourselves in.
Marci Hoffman
If the reader read Volume 1, this volume is even better.
C. Hutton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Daneel Olivaw on September 20, 2013
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.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By C. Hutton on September 23, 2013
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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By simon loekle on January 1, 2014
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.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert Hogan on October 29, 2013
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary on February 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After finishing the second half of Twain's biograpy, I debated about giving it four stars instead of five, principally because of its rather surprising "abrupt" ending, but decided that the collective work is so remarkable in its format (so "Twain") that it deserves five. I actually have both volumes on my Kindle -- as well as in hard copies -- since their large size makes them cumbersome to hold -- much less read. But Twain's decision to dictate his words -- exactly as his thoughts emerged -- with no attention to either chronology or order of priority, makes this unique autobiography all the more interesting to read. It is as if you were spending time with him -- perhaps over a mint julip -- while he is recalling incidents, expressing opinions, and sharing his innermost private thoughts. HIs decision to not have the work published until 100 years after his death meant that his opinions could be freely expressed without risk of offending living individuals, or their family members. As a result, this is an ecclectic mix of a tell-all book and an intimate self-portrait, laced throughout with the expected humorous anecdotes typical of this beloved American author.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Christian Schlect VINE VOICE on October 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Those who enjoy Mark Twain's writings and who have an interest in the era in which he lived should buy and read this book along with its earlier issued companion volume.

While this is a true product of this great author, with many bright flashes of wit, it must be said that a good editor at the time of its original writing would have carved out a number of unnecessary words and pages, such as those spilled copying contemporary news clippings of disasters at sea.

I give high praise to the editorial staff at the Mark Twain Project and the University of California Press for their dedicated scholarly efforts and the detailed and interesting explanatory material provided.
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More About the Author

Mark Twain (1835-1910) was an American humorist, satirist, social critic, lecturer and novelist. He is mostly remembered for his classic novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition (Mark Twain Papers)
This item: Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition (Mark Twain Papers)
Price: $45.00 $34.81
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