Saturday, November 20, 2010


Called library today & reserved The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol 1. Twain dictated it when he was old, it's "a jumble," he admitted. He also agreed with his publisher that it could not be published  at that time in its unexpurgated form, so the versions that later appeared heavily cut the rage, bile, cynicism, score-settling, & political rants. Twain was a bitter old man. He had his reasons. He suffered from depression. Personal tragedy; he  out-lived his wife & two of his three daughters. A business failure  had him lecturing around the world to pay off debts. & by 1900,  the "progress" he had documented in the second part of Life On The Mississippi with all the literary aplomb of a Chamber of Commerce brochure had turned America into an imperialist aggressor abroad  & a  cruel exploiter of human labor & natural resources at home. Like George Carlin in his last years, it was tough for Twain to be funny. But he still could be very funny.

Vol 1 doesn't contain much omitted material. But Vols 2 & 3 will.  Vol 1 is 760 pages & since I  don't plan of giving up fiction I figure I ought to get started.


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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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