Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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A Note on the Texts

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pp. xi-xii

have attempted to cite authoritative texts throughout. In most instances that means texts prepared by the Mark Twain Project and published by the University of California Press. In some instances (with No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger, for example) I have referenced the paperback edition, also published by the University of California Press...

Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xviii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-19

I begin with an unsubstantiated anecdote: “Mr. Twain,” an interviewer is supposed to have asked sometime around 1900, “do you believe in infant baptism?” The question had comic opportunity written all over it, and Twain did not hesitate: “Believe it? Hell! I’ve seen it done.”...

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Chapter One. 1852–1869

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pp. 20-58

In 1865, Samuel Clemens wrote his brother Orion: “I have had a ‘call’ to literature, of a low order—i.e., humorous. It is nothing to be proud of, but it is my strongest suit, & if I were to listen to that maxim of stern duty which says that to do right you must multiply the one or the two or the three talents which the Almighty entrusts to your keeping, I would long...

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Chapter Two. 1870–1879

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pp. 59-103

Given his own circumstances at the time he was writing it, Roughing It (1872) is an oddly ironic title for Twain’s next important book. Throughout, the author recalls his travels in the West, often far from creature comforts, improving company, and domestic security. Yet at the time he contracted with Elisha Bliss to write this book, Clemens was one-third owner...

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Chapter Three. 1880–1884

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pp. 104-140

The first explicit mention of Huckleberry Finn occurs in a letter to W. D. Howells dated August 9, 1876:
I . . . began another boys’ book—more to be at work than anything else. I have written 400 pages on it—therefore it is very nearly half done. It is Huck Finn’s Autobiography. I like it only tolerably well, as far as I have got, & may possibly pigeonhole or burn the MS when it is done. (MTHL, 1:144)1...

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Chapter Four. 1885–1889

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pp. 141-189

It could not be more than a few hundred yards from the drugstore where Boggs coughed out his last to the picket fence in front of Colonel Sherburn’s yard. It took Twain three years to travel that distance. He had pigeonholed the Huckleberry Finn manuscript in the late spring of 1880, breaking off at that point where a group of Bricksville citizens...

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Chapter Five. 1890–1899

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pp. 190-237

The passage from A Connecticut Yankee that is most often cited, typically as evidence of Twain’s deterministic philosophy but sometimes also in support of an evident faith in a transcendent realm of being, is this one:
Training—training is everything; training is all there is to a person. We speak of nature; it is folly; there is no such thing as nature; what we call by that misleading name is merely heredity and training. We have no thoughts of our own, no...

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Chapter Six. 1900–1910

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pp. 238-282

There is no reason to dispute Hamlin Hill’s well-documented assertion in Mark Twain: God’s Fool that the last decade of Clemens’s life was a kind of “hell,” much of it of his own making.1 The story of the seemingly gratuitous depredations upon his security and happiness is a familiar one— the deaths of family members and friends...

Index

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pp. 283-289

About the Author

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pp. 309-309