Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chapters from My Autobiography - Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

I wrote about Huckleberry Finn in my first blog, so I promise this is not going to be the Mark Twain blog.  But I am fascinated that Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain is on the bestseller list.  His complete autobiography had a literary embargo so that it could not be published until one hundred years after his death.  He is now dishing the dirt from beyond the grave.

But if you want the expurgated version which was published and popular in his lifetime, you can get it for semi-free.

It is not the book titled Mark Twain's Burlesque Autobiography (UK edition) (Deutsch edition) which is free for the Kindle, but which you may not want to read.  Twain hated the book so much, he bought up the plates and destroyed them.  He anticipated much, but apparently not scanners.

You are looking for the 99 cent  Chapters from My Autobiography (Free UK edition) (Free Deutsch edition) by Samuel Clemens. But I think this is one of those times where you will want to pay full price.  Samuel Clemens was a very frank writer and wrote very bleakly about life and death in a way not designed to endear him to Tom Sawyer's many fans.  If he thought something was too incendiary to publish for a hundred years - well maybe that is what you want to read.  In which case you want the new bestseller Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1  (UK edition) (Deutsch edition) It is 700 plus pages, making it a good choice  to downsize on to Kindle or maybe the size will make you reach for the shorter 95 cent version listed above. Either way, how wonderful to have his wider works read once again. 

Here is an excerpt from Chapters from My Autobiography.  It should also be part of the new publication.

[Dictated in 1906] In those early days duelling suddenly became a fashion in the New Territory of Nevada, and by 1864 everybody was anxious to have a chance in the new sport, mainly for the reason that he was not able to thoroughly respect himself so long as he had not killed or crippled somebody in a duel or been killed or crippled in one himself.

At that time I had been serving as city editor on Mr. Goodman`s Virginia City "Enterprise" for a matter of two years. I was twenty-nine years old. I was ambitious in several ways, but I had entirely escaped the seductions of that particular craze. I had had no desire to fight a duel; I had no intention of provoking one. I did not feel respectable, but I got a certain amount of satisfaction out of feeling safe.

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