- Series: Wordsworth Classics
- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd.; Wordsworth Classics edition (April 15, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1840226366
- ISBN-13: 978-1840226362
- Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 1 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (476 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Innocents Abroad (Wordsworth Classics) Wordsworth Classics Edition
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(in full The Innocents Abroad; or, The New Pilgrims' Progress) A humorous travel narrative by Mark Twain, published in 1869 and based on Twain's letters to newspapers about his 1867 steamship voyage to Europe, Egypt, and the Holy Land. The Innocents Abroad sharply satirized tourists who learn what they should see and feel by reading guidebooks. Assuming the role of a keen-eyed, shrewd Westerner, Twain was refreshingly honest and vivid in describing foreign scenes and his reactions to them. He alternated serious passages--history, statistics, description, explanation, argumentation--with risible ones. The humor itself was varied, sometimes in the vein of the Southwestern yarn spinners, sometimes in that of contemporaneous humorists such as Artemus Ward and Josh Billings, who chiefly used burlesque and parody and other verbal devices. --The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
His description of those he calls "pilgrims" who go around chipping off chunks of every religious or historical sites is a riot. Also his description of Americans trying to converse in a sort of pigeon French is hilarious. Not much has changed. I actually learned a lot from this book. E.g., even though I had visited Venice twice, I had never become aware of the Committee of Three and their
power. Readers who have a historical bent will really enjoy this book