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The Gilded Age Paperback – October 21, 2008
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Having done a ton of research about the beginnings of the Central Pacific Railroad, and the building of the western portion of the Transcontinental Railroad (less so the eastern portion under the Union Pacific Railroad), I somewhere became aware that Mark Twain's novel The Gilded Age (written with Charles Dudley Warner) was roughly-speaking about the same time period - and the same gung-ho speculative super-capitalism.
So I found the book on Amazon.com, ordered it, got it timely, and started to read. First off, the physical aspect of the book caught me by surprise, looking for all the world like a print-on-demand dissertation from University Microfilms, only less attractive and less well-done.
Part way into the book however, I started seeing strange things: The word "abort" in a context that demanded the word "about." And strange punctuation, including seemingly gratuitous commas everywhere. And this, from page 191: "And, now! Philip looked at leis torn clothes, and thought with disgust of his haste in getting into a fight with such an autocrat." "Leis" is so clearly intended to be "his."
And then it dawned on me. "Quill Pen Classics - New York, New York" (the publisher), appears (I repeat appears, and here I wish and hope I'm wrong) has scanned and OCR-ed the original literary work, and then committed it immediately to ink on paper - bypassing the editorial department completely. If Quill Pen Classics even has an "editorial department."
When you buy a Mark Twain book, you have certain expectations. At least I do. You expect Twain-like prose. And you expect a certain level of care in editing. Wow, is that latter expectation misplaced in this case. Whatever the failed process, this production does violence to the literary memory of Twain. I cannot recommend it.