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The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain (International Collectors Library) Leather Bound – 1957

4.6 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Leather Bound: 676 pages
  • Publisher: International Collectors Library (1957)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OHZ4SM
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,292,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Greg Blonder on February 6, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don't buy this book! The stories, of course, are classic Mark Twain- one of the most thoughtful, humorous, and clear thinking writers ever born. But the Bantam edition is unreadable.
To save money, the margins run from 1/4 to 1/8 an inch. Not too bad on the outside edges, but on the inside edge near the spine the words are nearly hidden by the curve of the page. Either you break the spine to read the words, or you are forced to slide your thumb along the inner edge to reveal Twain's words. Find another edition.
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By A Customer on July 26, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This inexpensive book of over 600 pages offers an incredible value for anyone who enjoy Mark Twain's quintessential humor. It is one of those books that you cannot put down once you get started on it. A great way to while away a hot summer afternoon
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What? Only four stars for Mark Twain? Well, this is not Huckleberry Finn under review, it's a collection of Twain's short stories. These stories vary dramatically in quality, with some displaying some of the same humor and moral punch that has made Huckleberry Finn such an enduring classic. Others, though, are tedious or lack much point. In a useful introduction, Adam Gopnik, a writer for the New Yorker, notes that Twain had a reputation for giving humorous public lectures even before he developed a reputation as a writer. Of course, no one now alive has ever heard Twain give a public lecture, but many people have seen Hal Holbrook's "Mark Twain Tonight." I can envision Holbrook delivering many of the anecdotes contained in these stories in a way that would make them much more appealing than they are on the printed page. Unfortunately, as readers all we have is the printed page.

This edition apparently reprints a collection published by Doubleday in 1957 and edited by Charles Neider. I assume that Neider contributed an introduction to the Doubleday volume, but it is not reprinted in this edition. That omission is unfortunate because, among other matters that might have been covered in that introduction, it is unclear whether this volume really does reprint every story Twain ever wrote. It would also have been nice to know where these stories were originally printed. The dates are given but the sources are only given for those stories reproduced from Twain's book "Roughing It." It also seems a curious decision to have labeled as short stories several excerpts from "Roughing It." If Neider decided to include excerpts from that book, why not include excerpts from other books? Perhaps he explained his reasoning in the missing introduction.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an important book in American literature. This collection truly shows off the massive range that Mark Twain had. From the author of books as divergant as Huck Finn and Joan of Arc, to the humorous travel writings and all the way past the bitter, hateful scribblings of his later life.
These are some of the highlights, as I see it:
"The Story of the Bad Little Boy", an early version of Twain's comprehenisive pessism and it proves that there is really no such thing. There's optimism and there's realism. "A Day at Niagra", an obvious parody of his own early newpaper feature writing. Perhaps it was an abandoned assignment on a trip to the falls and Twain had such a bad time he wrote this vicious, sarcastic piece. There are numerous other wonderful stories along the way, hilarious, mean-spirited, touching, beautiful, gently humorous and smile factoring. After the dreadful 1890s of Twain's life (lost a wife, a daughter, a fortune and another kid got sick), sometimes a few of the stories are near-misses. Still always amusing, but something is missing. Then, at recurring times over the last decade of his life, Mark Twain got angry. He popped the blister that became "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyberg", a brutal profile of mankind's inate greed and selfishness and how there will always be someone out there to laugh and enjoy your misery. "The $30,000 Bequest" is a heart-breaking tale about delusion and wasted lives, and how even the thought of money corrupts absolutely. "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven" is a mercilessly blasphemous account of Heaven being no different, really, from the earth, the same classist behavior, the same tragic dreams of a better life never to be had.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mark Twain stands out as one of the giants of America letters. Many of the 20th Century greats -- Falkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald just to name a few -- pointed to him as their literary inspiration. If you think it odd that writers of such diverse styles can all point back to the same author in such a way, then you haven't read Twain recently. While we often think of Twain for his folksier prose, it his extraordinary versatility of voice (as well as his humor and productivity) that stands out in these stories.

As a collection this demonstrates the Everyman's Library's usual commitment to quality. In an age when too many volumes feel almost disposable, this one is designed to last with a lovely binding and high quality paper. The introduction hits the right tone for most readers, interesting without going too long or becoming overly academic. And, in my favorite feature of this series, the volume includes an excellent timeline that reviews Twain's personal and literary life as well as significant events of his day. While I cannot be sure, I do however, have a sense that some stories are in fact missing, though I will admit I may be mistakenly recalling some of Twain's more literary essays as fiction.

My favorite thing about this collection, however, is that it runs chronologically. Readers will find much fascination in watching Twain's evolution over time. Also of interest is how his politics creeps (and sometimes shrieks) from his stories; we've too often excised from this author the strong stances he took on the issues of his day, many of which continue to resonate in our own time.
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