The Autobiography of Mark Twain: Vol I
Mark Twain was a figure larger than fife: massive in talent, eruptive in temperament, unpredictable in his actions. He crafted stories of heroism, adventure, tragedy, and comedy that reflected the changing America of the time, and he tells his own story--which includes sixteen pages of photos--with the same flair he brought to his fiction. Writing this autobiography on his deathbed, Twain vowed to he "free and frank and unembarrassed" in the recounting of his life and his experiences. Twain was more than a match for the expanding America of riverboats, gold rushes, and the vast westward movement, which provided the material for his novels and which served to inspire this beloved and uniquely American autobiography.About the Author
Mark Twain, who was born Samuel Clemens in Missouri in 1835, wrote some of the most enduring works of American fiction, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He died in 1910Topping Bestseller List
When editors at the University of California Press pondered the possible demand for â€œAutobiography of Mark Twain,â€ a $35, four-pound, 500,000-word door-stopper of a memoir, they kept their expectations modest with a planned print run of 7,500 copies. Now it is a smash hit across the country, landing on best-seller lists and going back to press six times, for a total print run â€” so far â€” of 275,000. The publisher cannot print copies quickly enough, leaving some bookstores and online retailers stranded without copies just as the holiday shopping season begins. Excerpt: The Autobiography of Mark Twain
I was born the 30th of November, 1835, in the almost invisible village of Florida, Monroe County, Missouri. My parents removed to Missouri in the early 'thirties; I do not remember just when, for I was not born then and cared nothing for such things. It was a long journey in those days and must have been a rough and tiresome one. The village contained a hundred people and I increased the population by I per cent. It is more than many of the best men in history could have done for a town. It may not be modest in me to refer to this but it is true. There is no record of a person doing as much-not even Shakespeare. But I did it for Florida and it shows that I could have done it for any place-even London, I suppose.
Recently some one in Missouri has sent me a picture of the house I was born in. Heretofore I have always stated that it was a palace but I shall be more guarded now.
The village had two streets, each a couple of hundred yards long; the rest of the avenues mere lanes, with railfences and comfields on either side. Both the streets and the lanes were paved with the same material-tough black mud in wet times, deep dust in dry.
Most of the houses were of logs--all of them, indeed, except three or four; these latter were frame ones. There were none of brick and none of stone. There was a log church, with a puncheon floor and slab benches. A puncheon floor is made of logs whose upper surfaces have been chipped flat with the adz. The cracks between the logs were not filled; there was no carpet; consequently, if you dropped anything smaller than a peach it was likely to go through. The church was perched upon short sections of logs, which elevated it two or three feet from the ground. Hogs slept under there, and whenever the dogs got after them during services the minister had to wait till the disturbance was over. In winter there was always a refreshing breeze up through the puncheon floor; in summer there were fleas enough for all.Read more