Mark Twain’s daughter Susy wrote: “Papa…doesn’t like to go to church at all, why I never understood, until just now, he told us the other day that he couldn’t bear to hear any one talk but himself, but that he could listen to himself talk for hours without getting tired, of course he said this in joke, but I’ve no dought [sic] it was founded on truth."
Here is one of the great autobiographies of the English language - exuberant, wonderfully contemporary in spirit, by a man twice as large as life who—he said so himself—had no trouble remembering everything that had ever happened to him and a lot of things besides.
Nothing ever happened to Mark Twain in a small way. His adventures were invariably fraught with drama. Success and failure for him were equally spectacular. And so he roared down the years, feuding with publishers, being a sucker for inventors, always learning wisdom at the point of ruin, and always relishing the absurd spectacle of humankind, which he regarded with a blend of vitriol and affection.
“It is worth reading because the man is in it.” (Saturday Review)
“A book filled with richnesses of humor and tragedy of disappointment and triumph, of sweetness and bitterness, and all in that unsurpassed American prose." (New York Herald Tribune Book Review)
"Magnificently alive." (Library Journal)
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