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A Tramp Abroad (Modern Library Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Mark Twain , Dave Eggers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

In A Tramp Abroad, Mark Twain’s unofficial sequel to The Innocents Abroad, the author records his hilarious and diverse observations and insights while on a fifteen-month walking trip through Central Europe and the Alps. “Here you have Twain’s inimitable mix,” writes Dave Eggers in his Introduction, “of the folksy and the effortlessly erudite, his unshakable good sense and his legendary wit, his knack for the easy relation of a perfect anecdote, and some achingly beautiful nature writing.”

This Modern Library Paperback Classic reproduces the text of the first American edition and features new explanatory notes and a critical Afterword by Kerry Driscoll, professor of English at Saint Joseph College in Connecticut.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

Nearly nine decades after his death, Mark Twain remains an international icon. His white-maned, mustachioed image is instantly identifiable throughout the world, the very picture of probity and high spirits (which explains why he's become the poster boy for products as diverse as beer, billiard tables, sewing machines, pizza, and real estate). Perhaps more importantly, Twain's books have retained all their power to amuse and enrage. How is it possible for the creator of a 19th-century "boy's holiday book" (Twain's own description of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) to raise so many contemporary hackles? The answer is that Twain is a contemporary writer. Not, of course, from a chronological point of view--he was born in Missouri in 1835 and died in 1910 (having insisted that "annihilation has no terrors for me"). But Twain was the first writer to elevate the American vernacular to a high art. Sidestepping the starched-shirt diction of his peers, he created an idiom that resembled (but did not precisely duplicate) the wayward, slangy, ungrammatical music of American conversation. No serious reader of Twain will want to do without the Oxford Mark Twain. This 29-volume leviathan includes not only the major works but also a treasure trove of essays and short pieces, many of them unavailable for decades. Throw in the introductions to each volume (by such heavyweights as Toni Morrison, Kurt Vonnegut, Cynthia Ozick, Gore Vidal, George Plimpton, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Walter Mosley), as well as the original illustrations, and you've got the book bargain of the millennium.


“[A Tramp Abroad] is delicious, whether you open it at the sojourn in Heidelberg, or the voyage down the Neckar on a raft, or mountaineering in Switzerland, or the excursion beyond the Alps into Italy.” —William Dean Howells

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1615 KB
  • Print Length: 346 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1605890502
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Modern Library edition (December 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,214,047 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An underrated book that at times is absolutely hilarious November 14, 2004
By Paul H
"A Tramp Abroad" is a humorous account of Mark Twain's travels in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. It is part travel guide, part commentary on European culture, and part tall tale. Like many of Twain's less-known works, "A Tramp Abroad" is rather uneven -- the chapters in the book range from rather boring to laugh-out-loud funny. Yet on balance, the humorous moments make up for the dull moments, and the majority of the less humorous chapters are still interesting. Apart from a few slow chapters, it provides a good read from beginning to end.

Some of the highlights of "A Tramp Abroad" are Twain's exaggerated account of his ascent of the Riffelberg (a mountain in the Swiss Alps), his comments on the peculiarities of the German language, and a hilarious episode in which Twain spends half an hour pretending to know a woman who remembers him though he doesn't remember her.

I have read most of Twain's works, and in my opinion "A Tramp Abroad" is not his best work, but it is definitely one of his most underrated books. It is not as good as his most popular works of fiction (i.e., Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn), nor is it as good as "Life on the Mississippi." But I found it to be the most entertaining of his purely travel-oriented books (the other books in that category being "The Innocents Abroad" and "Following the Equator"). The bottom line is that if you are a fan of Mark Twain's style, then you should find this book to be well worth reading.

Finally, if you are going to read "A Tramp Abroad," I highly recommend obtaining a version that contains all 328 of the original illustrations.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A matchless eye with an acidic pen October 3, 2001
America's post-Civil War years brought a renewed interest in the European scene. Journeys
known as Grand Tours led tourists to take ship to the Continent. They fanned out across the
landscape with the intent to "know Europe." Their return home resulted in a flurry of
published accounts. Twain satirizes both the tourists and their writings with delicious
wit. Ever a man to play with words, his "tramp" refers to both himself and the walking tour
of Europe he purports to have made. By the time you've reached the end of the account of the
"walking tour" incorporating trains, carriages and barges, you realize that the longest "walk"
Twain took occurred in dark hotel room while trying to find his bed. He claims to have
covered 47 miles wandering around the room.
Twain was interested in everything, probing into both well-known and obscure topics. His
judgments are vividly conveyed in this book, standing in marked contrast to his more
reserved approach in Innocents Abroad. A delightful overview of mid-19th Century Europe,
Tramp is also interlaced with entertaining asides. Twain was deeply interested in people, and
various "types" are drawn from his piercing gaze, rendered with acerbic wit. Some of these
are contemporary, while others are dredged from his memories of the California mines and
other journeys. He also relished Nature's marvels, recounting his observations. A favourite
essay is "What Stumped the Blue-jays." A nearly universal bird in North America, Twain's
description of the jay's curiosity and expressive ability stands unmatched. He observes such
humble creatures as ants, Alpine chamois, and the American tourist.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barometer Soup August 3, 2000
I have not read Twain since High School twenty five plus years ago but a friend on a newspapers book forums got me to read him again and A Tramp Abroad is the first book I picked. For the current generation this book may drag but for those of us who grew up reading books instead of playing computer games this is Twain at his best. One has to actually read into his writing to appreciate a lot of the irony but when this book is really on like the mountain climbing near the Matterhorn ,Twain makes Seinfeld seem like he's talking about something. A brilliant travel essay and by the way the Penguin Classics edition of this book in paperback is 411 pages long, not 670 pages .
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great travel writing, though not Twain's best August 21, 2003
In this book, the master satirist and illustrious travel writer Mark Twain embarks on a walking tour through Europe. This is done Twain style, of course, so anyone familiar with the author's travel writings will not be surprised that most of his `walking tour' is actually accomplished by coach, train, or vicariously through an agent. As is usual for his travel writings, Twain's descriptions are vivid and detailed, and his accounts of certain sites are simply marvelous. In fact, in my opinion, the only thing not up to Twain's standards in this book is the humor.
Don't get me wrong, this book is funny. His account of his mountaineering expedition, together with a staff of almost 150 people, is hilarious, as are many of his anecdotes (which, incidentally, are randomly inserted). Still, this book is not nearly as amusing as "The Innocents Abroad" or "Roughing It"--but that should not come as a surprise. Most of Twain's best work came early in his career, before his pessimism took over and before he was deprived of his entire family through death. This work fits somewhere in the middle of Twain's career, before he completely burned out but after he had already lost a bit of his incredible zest for life and capacity for humor.
All in all, this is an excellent book by one of the greatest writers the North American continent has ever produced.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyed it thoroughly.
Published 5 days ago by Dilara
5.0 out of 5 stars A tongue-in-cheek visit to 19th century Europe
This is an account of Mark Twain's travels round Europe in the 1870s. I got it for the essay on the horrors of the German language which is in an appendix, but the rest of it makes... Read more
Published 29 days ago by C. Bowden
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection
I've read a lot of Mark Twain. This collection has pretty much everything he wrote, which means the hard to find essays, short stories, speeches, and less anthologized works. Read more
Published 2 months ago by joseph zeppetello
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read
A real fun read. Twain was a real genius. Wish we had writers like him now. Great sense of the absurd.
Published 3 months ago by John W. Ormsby Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars Mark Twain - you be for true?
Mark Twain wrote three - (four, if you count Life on the Mississippi) - travel books: Roughing It, Innocents Abroad, and A Tramp Abroad. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John McConnell
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as The Innocents Abroad but it does have its moments
This book is a farrago of travel writing, humorous anecdotes related and not related to Twain's travels in Europe, myths and legends, art and mountaineering history and some... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Morowbie Jukes
5.0 out of 5 stars An Old Friend Got Even Better
While knowing its worth and recalling much of it, I had forgotten how achingly funny this. Almost every paragraph brings raw laughter--and then the surprises of sublime poetry.
Published 5 months ago by Mary B. Whidden
5.0 out of 5 stars Great classic.
Really enjoyed this book. Mark Twain is truly a master of humor, and meshes it well to the human condition.
Published 5 months ago by Timothy L.
4.0 out of 5 stars Twain's writing does not date
Twain is very tongue in cheek, a teller of tall tales and an observer of foibles. It is easy to forget the book was written in the 19th century, his observations are as pertinent... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lee Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Twain in full stride across Europe
This Twain travelogue is a compiliation of stories from "the spectacle of a man taking a walking tour of Europe"

For me, his observations on humanity with all its... Read more
Published 6 months ago by MICHAEL R THOMPSON
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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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