"I've struck it!" Mark Twain wrote in a 1904 letter to a friend. "And I will give it away-to you. You will never know how much enjoyment you have lost until you get to dictating your autobiography." Thus, after dozens of false starts and hundreds of pages, Twain embarked on his "Final (and Right) Plan" for telling the story of his life. His innovative notion-to "talk only about the thing which interests you for the moment"-meant that his thoughts could range freely. The strict instruction that many of these texts remain unpublished for one hundred years meant that when they came out, he would be "dead, and unaware, and indifferent," and that he was therefore free to speak his "whole frank mind." The year 2010 marked the one hundredth anniversary of Twain's death. In celebration of this important milestone, here, for the first time, is Mark Twain's uncensored autobiography, in its entirety, exactly as he left it. This major literary event offers the first of three volumes and presents Mark Twain's authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave, as he intended. The complete text of the Autobiography of Mark Twain, including facsimiles, Explanatory Notes, Appendixes, Note on the Text and References, can be found at www.marktwainproject.org. Additional material can be found at www.thisismarktwain.com.
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by Mark Twain
by Peg Streep, Alan B. Bernstein
"Grover Gardner's reading of Mark Twain's autobiography is something of a marvel, considering how little he relies on the Mark Twain manner made so famous by Hal Holbrook. Easy, natural, unaffected, but cued to every element of Twain's subtle and exacting prose, Gardner's delivery makes it easy to imagine you're listening to the author himself. The text is a daunting one. Written in sketches and fragments over many years, the bulk was dictated to a stenographer several years before Twain's death in 1910, with the stipulation that the unexpurgated text not appear for 100 years. Some of the short pieces are superb, but the deliberately meandering dictation proves to be aimless and slack, without Twain's customary verbal magic. This fine audio production has immense scholarly value. Gardner's skilled reading of a dictated text brings us as close as we might come to the author's natural voice--and reveals how much more he achieved when he applied himself at his desk. D.A.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine"
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