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History & Biography

Mark Twain Revealed

The legendary writer, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, suppressed the uncensored parts of his life story for 100 years.

The Mark Twain Project located at the University of California, Berkeley, has just published “The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume One.” The 743-page book is the first of a three-volume set containing the complete autobiographical discourses Mark Twain dictated between 1906 and 1909.

Twain first started dictating into Thomas Edison's new recording machine, but he found he needed a live audience. The resulting record of his recollections and anecdotes covered nearly 2,000 typescript pages.

"This is new in the sense that he (Twain) gets to say exactly what he wanted, how he wanted," said Robert Hirst, general editor of the Mark Twain Papers.

Just released November 15, 2010, the new autobiography is on The New York Times Best Seller list. The University of California Press has increased the print run of the book from 50,000 to 300,000 copies.

The New York Times ran a recent article about the unexpected demand for the autobiography. Many people are buying it as a Christmas gift and bookstores across the country have already sold out of the autobiography.

 "There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy," Mark Twain once wrote.

Twain lovers from around the world will appreciate reading about him in even greater detail in this latest, comprehensive version of his life.

The Springfield Greene County Library owns Twain’s new autobiography as well as many other titles about Mark Twain. Here are several:

The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Works by Shelley Fisher Fishkin

Mark Twain : Man in White: the Grand Adventure of His Final Years by Michael Shelden

Twain's Feast: Searching for America's Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens by Andrew Beahrs

Mark Twain [DVD Videorecording] a Film Directed by Ken Burns

More information about Mark Twain can also be found on these websites:

The Mark Twain Project Online contains the new autobiography with textual notes.

Mark Twain experiences his first earthquake in California.

Mark Twain's Mississippi offers primary source material from the 19th century.

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