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The Innocents Abroad (Fully Illustrated Edition): Or, the New Pilgrims' Progress Paperback – June 22, 2013
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About the Author
Mark Twain is one of America's greatest authors and humorists. He is the author of classics such as Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and scores of other famous titles in addition to Innocents Abroad (his best-selling book during his life).
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Reality is otherwise. All 234 illustrations are there. But the original editions of Twain's works had excellent, clever engravings with clear, crisp black lines on white background, and this quality is preserved in many facsimile editions today. In this IEC edition the illustrations are all apparently photocopied in faint grey line on a lighter grey background, and look like like landscapes seen through a fog. This, and the fact that the illustrations have been reduced to something like 50% of their original size, totally destroys the charm and impact that the pictures were meant to convey. In an act of desperation, I printed out half a dozen illustrations from the internet site of the Twain Library of Virginia, and pasted them into the book opposite their printed facsimiles. The contrast is appalling!
This IEC edition is not a facsimile of the original issue. The book has been re-typeset in a miniscule type font, as small as that used in the little 4 ¼" x 7" Signet Classic paperback of "Innocents Abroad"! There are occasional disturbing eccentricities, such as in Chapter 26, where an in-text playbill for the Roman Colosseum is suddenly expanded into four pages of empty space and gigantic type, larger than on the Title Page or anywhere else in the book. Other strange eccentricities of typesetting make this look like a book put together by students or amateurs.
To be fair, the one truly original feature of the IEC edition is a three-page Appendix I describing the "Quaker City", the paddle-wheel steamboat that took Twain and his companions on their five-month Odyssey. The five illustrations of it when a passenger ship and when a U.S. Navy warship, are fascinating. Appendix I is the only thing that I will save when I discard this edition.
If you want an edition of "Innocents Abroad" with good reproductions of all the original illustrations, then I suggest that you consider the Oxford Mark Twain edition, available in both hardback and paperback. I just received a copy from Amazon, and am immensely pleased. The illustrations are full-sized, clear and crisp. Oxford Press knows what it is doing.
My only complaint was that Twain's 1860's writing style takes some getting used to and makes the book read slower than it should. (Otherwise though, I guess it wouldn't be Mark Twain) Also, the Kindle version had no illustrations/photos which I gather were plentiful in the print version.
But if you like history, travel and a dose of irreverence, this is for you. Wonderful!!!
Even though this book is over 130 years old, Twain's satiric style comes across as very modern. Fans of Jon Stewart would find a very similar sensibility in Twain observations. I first read this book as a teenager, forty years ago, and I still find passages that make me laugh out loud.