Mark Twain’s complete, uncensored Autobiography was an instant bestseller when the first volume was published in 2010, on the centennial of the author’s death, as he requested. Published to rave reviews, the Autobiography was hailed as the capstone of Twain’s career. It captures his authentic and unsuppressed voice, speaking clearly from the grave and brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions.
The eagerly awaited second volume delves deeper into Twain’s life, uncovering the many roles he played in his private and public worlds. Filled with his characteristic blend of humor and ire, the narrative ranges effortlessly across the contemporary scene. He shares his views on writing and speaking, his preoccupation with money, and his contempt for the politics and politicians of his day. Affectionate and scathing by turns, his intractable curiosity and candor are everywhere on view.
“In which the great American author, aided by his scholarly editors, continues to spin out a great yarn covering his long life…Twain admirers will find this volume indispensable and will eagerly await the third volume.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“To most general readers, the first volume of the Autobiography of Mark Twain arrived in 2010 as an unexpected centennial surprise…This mammoth, singular autobiography became a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, as the second volume arrives, the surprise is abated, but the pleasure remains. This thousand-page opus contains Twain’s accounts, memories, and musings on his beloved wife Clara and his daughter Susy; his old friend, then rival Bret Harte; publishers, politicians, and imperialists. At times, the nakedness of his strong opinions helps explain why he wanted these reflections to remain secret for so long.” —Barnes & Noble, editorial review
“His autobiography, Twain explains, serves not as a window but as ‘a mirror, and I am looking at myself in it all the time’…Griffin and Smith’s careful annotations clarify the chronology running through Twain’s reflections about the face looking back at him from his mirror—now set in the perfect deadpan of a master humorist, now contorted with the acute anguish of a distressed soul. A treasure deserving shelf space next to Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.” —Booklist (starred review)
About the Author - Mark Twain
Mark Twain is the pseudonym of American writer and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835–1910), whose best work is characterized by broad, often irreverent humor or biting social satire. Twain's writing is also known for realism of place and language, memorable characters, and hatred of hypocrisy and oppression.
Born in Florida, Missouri, Clemens moved with his family to Hannibal, Missouri, a port on the Mississippi River, when he was four years old. There he received a public school education. After the death of his father in 1847, Clemens was apprenticed to two Hannibal printers, and in 1851 he began setting type for and contributing sketches to his brother Orion's Hannibal Journal. Subsequently he worked as a printer in Keokuk, Iowa; New York City; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and other cities. Later, Clemens was a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River until the American Civil War brought an end to travel on the river. In 1862 he became a reporter on the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, Nevada, and in 1863 he began signing his articles with the pseudonym Mark Twain, a Mississippi River phrase meaning “two fathoms deep.”
In 1867 Twain lectured in New York City, and in the same year he visited Europe and Palestine. He wrote of these travels in The Innocents Abroad, a book exaggerating those aspects of European culture that impress American tourists. Much of Twain's best work was written in the 1870s and 1880s, when he was living in Hartford, Connecticut, or during the summers at Quarry Farm, near Elmira, New York. Roughing It recounts his early adventures as a miner and journalist; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer celebrates boyhood in a town on the Mississippi River; A Tramp Abroad describes a walking trip through the Black Forest of Germany and the Swiss Alps; Life on the Mississippi combines an autobiographical account of his experiences as a river pilot with a visit to the Mississippi nearly two decades after he left it; and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court satirizes oppression in feudal England. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the sequel to Tom Sawyer, is considered Twain's masterpiece.
Twain's work during the 1890s and the 1900s is marked by growing pessimism and bitterness. Significant works of this period are Pudd'nhead Wilson, a novel set in the South before the Civil War that criticizes racism by focusing on mistaken racial identities, and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, a sentimental biography.
In Twain's later years he wrote less, but he became a celebrity, frequently speaking out on public issues. He also came to be known for the white linen suit he always wore when making public appearances. Twain received an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1907. When he died he left an uncompleted autobiography, which was eventually edited by his secretary, Albert Bigelow Paine, and published in 1924.
About the Narrator - Grover Gardner
Grover Gardner, a professional actor, director, and teacher, has narrated over 650 audiobooks. He was named one of the Best Voices of the Century by AudioFile magazine as well as a Golden Voice, and he has received over twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards. He has also won two coveted Audie Awards, as well as being a three-time finalist. In 2005, Publishers Weekly named him Audiobook Narrator of the Year.