Two clothbound, slipcased volumes | 2,126 pages
The Library of America edition of Mark Twain’s short writings is the most comprehensive collection ever published: nearly three hundred stories, sketches, burlesques, tall tales, hoaxes, speeches, and satires. Arranged chronologically and containing many pieces restored to the form in which Twain intended them to appear, the volumes show with unprecedented clarity the literary evolution of Mark Twain over six decades of his career.
As a riverboat pilot, Confederate irregular, silver miner, frontier journalist, and publisher, Twain witnessed the tragicomic beginning of the Civil War in Missouri, the frenzied opening of the West, and the feverish corruption, avarice, and ambition of the Reconstruction era. He wrote about political bosses, jumping frogs, robber barons, cats, women’s suffrage, temperance, petrified men, the bicycle, the Franco-Prussian War, the telephone, the income tax, the insanity defense, injudicious swearing, and the advisability of political candidates preemptively telling the worst about themselves before others get around to it.
Among the stories included here are “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog,” which won him instant fame when published in 1865, and the charming “A Cat Tale,” written for his daughters’ private amusement. This edition also presents several of his famous and successful speeches and toasts, such as “Woman—God Bless Her” and “Advice to Youth.” Such writings brought Twain immense success on the public lecture circuit, as did his notorious “Whittier Birthday Speech,” which portrayed Boston’s most revered men of letters as a band of desperadoes. The United States military involvement in Cuba, China, and the Philippines turned Twain’s attention to political satire and invective. “To the Person Sitting in Darkness,” “The United States of Lyncherdom,” and “The War Prayer” are biting denunciations of European and American imperialism. Twain’s increasingly unorthodox religious opinions are powerfully, often comically, expressed in “Extracts from Adam’s Diary,” “Eve’s Diary,” “A Humane Word from Satan,” “What is Man?” and “Letters from the Earth.”
This collection also includes an extensive chronology of Twain’s life, helpful notes on the people and events referred to in his works, and a guide to the texts.
Plus – FREE
Mark Twain: Historical Romances
The Prince and the Pauper | A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court | Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc
Clothbound, slipcased edition | 1,031 pages
This bonus volume collects for the first time Twain’s three works set in medieval and Renaissance Europe. The Prince and the Pauper brings a nineteenth-century American’s viewpoint to the traditional society of Henry VIII’s England. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is both a hilarious burlesque of knighthood and a darker questioning of medieval and modern social mores. Long unavailable, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc is Twain’s account of ‘the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.’