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Friday, July 9, 2010

Mark Twain tells all in “new” autobiography

A recent PBS NewsHour segment on the preparations at the University of California Press for the publication this November of Volume One of the uncensored autobiography of Mark Twain—not to be published until 100 years after his death—takes us behind the “unmarked door in the Bancroft Library” at Berkeley and into the Mark Twain Archive. The Twain scholars at work offer some teasing glimpses of what’s to come.

SPENCER MICHELS: Editor Ben Griffin, who joined the Twain Project five years ago, relates another jolting passage, where Twain took out his anger on an entrepreneur named James Paige, who lost him money.

BENJAMIN GRIFFIN, editor, Autobiography of Mark Twain: This is the end of the piece he wrote about Paige.

"Paige and I always meet on effusively affectionate terms, and yet he knows perfectly well that, if I had his nuts in a steel trap, I would shut out all human succor and watch that trap until he died."

Related LOA works: The Complete Mark Twain Library (7 volumes, plus a FREE book!); The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Works


  1. It will be interesting to see the thoughts Twain hid from Victorian sensibilities, but if this is the only kind of thing in there I'll be very sad.

  2. Will the LOA be releasing a version of his autobiography? It would look great next to my other LOA Twain volumes.

  3. Corey: The volume just published by the University of California Press is only the first of three volumes, which will total nearly 3,000 packed, oversized pages. It will be several years before the entire work is finally released.

    When it is, we'll almost certainly approach U of Calif Press about possibly publishing an LOA edition, but we'd have to get their permission/cooperation first since, from a legal point of view, the copyright on this work is the same as any other "new" publication. In sum, it will be entirely up to the copyright holders as to whether this work will be in an LOA edition one day.


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