The Innocents Abroadby Mark Twain, Michael Meyer (Introduction), Leslie Feidler (Afterword)
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or Mark Twain, as he was better known was born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri, the sixth child of John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens. His father ran a dry goods and grocery store, practiced law and involved himself in local politics after the family's move to Hannibal, Missouri, when Sam was four/b>
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About the Author
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or Mark Twain, as he was better known was born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri, the sixth child of John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens. His father ran a dry goods and grocery store, practiced law and involved himself in local politics after the family's move to Hannibal, Missouri, when Sam was four years old.
Hannibal seems to have been a good place for a boy to grow up. Sam was entranced by the Mississippi River and enjoyed both the barges and the people who traveled on them. When Sam was just eleven his father died and Sam went to work for his brother at the Hannibal Journal first as a printer's apprentice and later a compositor. While still in his teens Sam went on the road as an itinerant printer. In 1857 he conceived a plan to seek his fortune in South America but on the way he met a steamboat captain, Horace Bixby who took him on as a cub riverboat pilot and taught him until he acquired his own license.
This enjoyable style of life, which Twain always spoke of later with special warmth was ended by the Civil War. Twain went west with his brother Orion to prospect in Nevada but in 1862 joined the staff of the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, a paper to which he had already begun submitting his work. Later Twain went to California and submitted "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" to the New York Saturday Press.
By 1871 Twain had published Innocents Abroad and had married Olivia Langdon, the sister of a friend from a socially prominent New York City family. He and his wife moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where they made their family home for thenext 20 years.
Books that he wrote in Hartford confirmed his popular reputation but despite their success Twain found himself in financial difficulty primarily because of his investments in the Paige typesetting business as well as his own publishing company. Eventually Twain was forced to declare bankruptcy.
Twain's last major books were successful commercially but they also reflect his increasing pessimism. His satire becomes at times more biting and mean-spirited than it is humorous. Despite the downturn in Twain's outlook in later life and despite the unevenness of much of his work, he remains one of the major writers of the American nineteenth century, and one who has been enormously influential on subsequent writers.
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Read an Excerpt
For months the great Pleasure Excursion to Europe and the Holy Land was chatted about in the newspapers every where in America, and discussed at countless firesides. It was a novelty in the way of Excursions—its like had not been thought of before, and it compelled that interest which attractive novelties always command. It was to be a picnic on a gigantic scale. The participants in it, instead of freighting an ungainly steam ferry-boat with youth and beauty and pies and doughnuts, and paddling up some obscure creek to disembark upon a grassy lawn and wear themselves out with a long summer day’s laborious frolicking under the impression that it was fun, were to sail away in a great steamship with flags flying and cannon pealing, and take a royal holiday beyond the broad ocean, in many a strange clime and in many a land renowned in history! They were to sail for months over the breezy Atlantic and the sunny Mediterranean; they were to scamper about the decks by day, filling the ship with shouts and laughter—or read novels and poetry in the shade of the smoke-stacks, or watch for the jelly-fish and the nautilus, over the side, and the shark, the whale, and other strange monsters of the deep; and at night they were to dance in the open air, on the upper deck, in the midst of a ball-room that stretched from horizon to horizon, and was domed by the bending heavens and lighted by no meaner lamps than the stars and the magnificent moon—dance, and promenade, and smoke, and sing, and make love, and search the skies for constellations that never associate with the “Big Dipper” they were so tired of; and they were to see the ships of twenty navies—the customs and costumes of twenty curious peoples—the great cities of half a world—they were to hob-nob with nobility and hold friendly converse with kings and princes, Grand Moguls, and the anointed lords of mighty empires!
It was a brave conception; it was the offspring of a most ingenious brain. It was well advertised, but it hardly needed it: the bold originality, the extraordinary character, the seductive nature, and the vastness of the enterprise provoked comment every where and advertised it in every household in the land. Who could read the programme of the excursion without longing to make one of the party? I will insert it here. It is almost as good as a map. As a text for this book, nothing could be better:
EXCURSION TO THE HOLY LAND, EGYPT, THE CRIMEA, GREECE, AND INTERMEDIATE POINTS OF INTEREST. Brooklyn, February 1st, 1867.
The undersigned will make an excursion as above during the coming season, and begs to submit to you the following programme:
A first-class steamer, to be under his own command, and capable of accommodating at least one hundred and fifty cabin passengers, will be selected, in which will be taken a select company, numbering not more than three-fourths of the ship’s capacity. There is good reason to believe that this company can be easily made up in this immediate vicinity, of mutual friends and acquaintances.
The steamer will be provided with every necessary comfort, including library and musical instruments.
An experienced physician will be on board.
Leaving New York about June 1st, a middle and pleasant route will be taken across the Atlantic, and passing through the group of Azores, St. Michael will be reached in about ten days. A day or two will be spent here, enjoying the fruit and wild scenery of these islands, and the voyage continued, and Gibraltar reached in three or four days.
A day or two will be spent here in looking over the wonderful subterraneous fortifications, permission to visit these galleries being readily obtained.
From Gibraltar, running along the coasts of Spain and France, Marseilles will be reached in three days. Here ample time will be given not only to look over the city, which was founded six hundred years before the Christian era, and its artificial port, the finest of the kind in the Mediterranean, but to visit Paris during the Great Exhibition; and the beautiful city of Lyons, lying intermediate, from the heights of which, on a clear day, Mont Blanc and the Alps can be distinctly seen. Passengers who may wish to extend the time at Paris can do so, and, passing down through Switzerland, rejoin the steamer at Genoa.
From Marseilles to Genoa is a run of one night. The excursionists will have an opportunity to look over this, the “magnificent city of palaces,” and visit the birthplace of Columbus, twelve miles off, over a beautiful road built by Napoleon I. From this point, excursions may be made to Milan, Lakes Como and Maggiore, or to Milan, Verona, (famous for its extraordinary fortifications,) Padua, and Venice. Or, if passengers desire to visit Parma (famous for Correggio’s frescoes,) and Bologna, they can by rail go on to Florence, and rejoin the steamer at Leghorn, thus spending about three weeks amid the cities most famous for art in Italy.
From Genoa the run to Leghorn will be made along the coast in one night, and time appropriated to this point in which to visit Florence, its palaces and galleries; Pisa, its Cathedral and “Leaning Tower,” and Lucca and its baths, and Roman amphitheatre; Florence, the most remote, being distant by rail about sixty miles.
From Leghorn to Naples, (calling at Civita Vecchia to land any who may prefer to go to Rome from that point,) the distance will be made in about thirty-six hours; the route will lay along the coast of Italy, close by Caprera, Elba, and Corsica. Arrangements have been made to take on board at Leghorn a pilot for Caprera, and, if practicable, a call will be made there to visit the home of Garibaldi.
Rome, [by rail] Herculaneum, Pompeii, Vesuvius, Virgil’s tomb, and possibly, the ruins of Pæstum, can be visited, as well as the beautiful surroundings of Naples and its charming bay.
The next point of interest will be Palermo, the most beautiful city of Sicily, which will be reached in one night from Naples. A day will be spent here, and leaving in the evening, the course will be taken towards Athens.
Skirting along the north coast of Sicily, passing through the group of Æolian Isles, in sight of Stromboli and Vulcania, both active volcanoes, through the Straits of Messina, with “Scylla” on the one hand and “Charybdis” on the other, along the east coast of Sicily, and in sight of Mount Ætna, along the south coast of Italy, the west and south coast of Greece, in sight of ancient Crete, up Athens Gulf, and into the Piræus, Athens will be reached in two and a half or three days. After tarrying here awhile, the Bay of Salamis will be crossed, and a day given to Corinth, whence the voyage will be continued to Constantinople, passing on the way through the Grecian Archipelago, the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmora, and the mouth of the Golden Horn, and arriving in about forty-eight hours from Athens.
After leaving Constantinople, the way will be taken out through the beautiful Bosphorus, across the Black Sea to Sebastopol and Balaklava, a run of about twenty-four hours. Here it is proposed to remain two days, visiting the harbors, fortifications, and battle-fields of the Crimea; thence back through the Bosphorus, touching at Constantinople to take in any who may have preferred to remain there; down through the Sea of Marmora and the Dardanelles, along the coasts of ancient Troy and Lydia in Asia, to Smyrna, which will be reached in two or two and a half days from Constantinople. A sufficient stay will be made here to give opportunity of visiting Ephesus, fifty miles distant by rail.
From Smyrna towards the Holy Land the course will lay through the Grecian Archipelago, close by the Isle of Patmos, along the coast of Asia, ancient Pamphylia, and the Isle of Cyprus. Beirout will be reached in three days. At Beirout time will be given to visit Damascus; after which the steamer will proceed to Joppa.
From Joppa, Jerusalem, the River Jordan, the Sea of Tiberias, Nazareth, Bethany, Bethlehem, and other points of interest in the Holy Land can be visited, and here those who may have preferred to make the journey from Beirout through the country, passing through Damascus, Galilee, Capernaum, Samaria, and by the River Jordan and Sea of Tiberias, can rejoin the steamer.
Leaving Joppa, the next point of interest to visit will be Alexandria, which will be reached in twenty-four hours. The ruins of Cæsar’s Palace, Pompey’s Pillar, Cleopatra’s Needle, the Catacombs, and ruins of ancient Alexandria, will be found worth the visit. The journey to Cairo, one hundred and thirty miles by rail, can be made in a few hours, and from which can be visited the site of ancient Memphis, Joseph’s Granaries, and the Pyramids.
From Alexandria the route will be taken homeward, calling at Malta, Cagliari (in Sardinia,) and Parma (in Majorca,) all magnificent harbors, with charming scenery, and abounding in fruits.
A day or two will be spent at each place, and leaving Parma in the evening, Valencia in Spain will be reached the next morning. A few days will be spent in this, the finest city of Spain.
From Valencia, the homeward course will be continued, skirting along the coast of Spain. Alicant, Carthagena, Palos, and Malaga, will be passed but a mile or two distant, and Gibraltar reached in about twenty-four hours.
A stay of one day will be made here, and the voyage continued to Madeira, which will be reached in about three days. Captain Marryatt writes: “I do not know a spot on the globe which so much astonishes and delights upon first arrival as Madeira.” A stay of one or two days will be made here, which, if time permits, may be extended, and passing on through the islands, and probably in sight of the Peak of Tene- riffe, a southern track will be taken, and the Atlantic crossed within the latitudes of the Northeast trade winds, where mild and pleasant weather, and a smooth sea, can always be expected.
A call will be made at Bermuda, which lies directly in this route homeward, and will be reached in about ten days from Madeira, and after spending a short time with our friends the Bermudians, the final departure will be made for home, which will be reached in about three days.
Already, applications have been received from parties in Europe wishing to join the Excursion there.
The ship will at all times be a home, where the excursionists, if sick, will be surrounded by kind friends, and have all possible comfort and sympathy.
Should contagious sickness exist in any of the ports named in the programme, such ports will be passed, and others of interest substituted.
The price of passage is fixed at $1,250, currency, for each adult passenger. Choice of rooms and of seats at the tables apportioned in the order in which passages are engaged, and no passage considered engaged until ten per cent. of the passage money is deposited with the treasurer.
Passengers can remain on board of the steamer, at all ports, if they desire, without additional expense, and all boating at the expense of the ship.
All passages must be paid for when taken, in order that the most perfect arrangements be made for starting at the appointed time.
Applications for passage must be approved by the committee before tickets are issued, and can be made to the undersigned.
Articles of interest or curiosity, procured by the passengers during the voyage, may be brought home in the steamer free of charge.
Five dollars per day, in gold, it is believed, will be a fair calculation to make for all traveling expenses on shore, and at the various points where passengers may wish to leave the steamer for days at a time.
The trip can be extended, and the route changed, by unanimous vote of the passengers.
Chas. C. Duncan, 117 Wall Street, New York. R. R. G******, Treasurer. committee on applications J. T. H*****, Esq.,R. R. G*****, Esq., C. C. Duncan. committee on selecting steamer. Capt. W. W. S****. Surveyor for Board of Underwriters. C. W. C*******, Consulting Engineer for U. S. and Canada. J. T. H*****, Esq. C. C. Duncan. p.s.—The very beautiful and substantial side wheel steamship “Quaker City” has been chartered for the occasion, and will leave New York, June 8th. Letters have been issued by the government commending the party to courtesies abroad.
What was there lacking about that programme, to make it perfectly irresistible? Nothing, that any finite mind could discover. Paris, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Italy—Garibaldi! The Grecian archipelago! Vesuvius! Constantinople! Smyrna! The Holy Land! Egypt and “our friends the Bermudians!” People in Europe desiring to join the Excursion—contagious sickness to be avoided—boating at the expense of the ship—physician on board—the circuit of the globe to be made if the passengers unanimously desired it—the company to be rigidly selected by a pitiless “Committee on Applications”—the vessel to be as rigidly selected by as pitiless a “Committee on Selecting Steamer.” Human nature could not withstand these bewildering temptations. I hurried to the Treasurer’s office and deposited my ten per cent. I rejoiced to know that a few vacant state-rooms were still left. I did avoid a critical personal examination into my character, by that bowelless committee, but I referred to all the people of high standing I could think of in the community who would be least likely to know any thing about me.
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Meet the Author
In his person and in his pursuits, Mark Twain (1835-1910) was a man of extraordinary contrasts. Although he left school at twelve, when his father died, he was eventually awarded honorary degrees from Yale University, the University of Missouri, and Oxford University. His career encompassed such varied occupations as printer, Mississippi riverboat pilot, journalist, travel writer, and publisher. He made fortunes from his writing, but toward the end of his life he had to resort to lecture tours to pay his debts. He was hot-tempered, profane, and sentimental—and also pessimistic, cynical, and tortured by self-doubt. His nostalgia for the past helped produce some of his best books. He lives in American letters as a great artist, the writer whom William Dean Howells called “the Lincoln of our literature.”
Michael Meyer, Ph.D., professor emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut, is a former president of the Thoreau Society and the coauthor of The New Thoreau Handbook, a standard reference. His first book, Several More Lives to Live: Thoreau’s Political Reputation in America, was awarded the Ralph henry Gabriel Prize by the American Studies Association. In addition to The Bedford Introduction to Literature, his edited volumes include Frederick Douglas: The Narrative and Selected Writings.
Leslie A. Fielder (1917-2003) was a longtime professor of English at Montana State University and then the Samuel Langhorne Clemens Professor of Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He was the author of four novels, as well as many influential works of criticism including Life and Death in the American Novel and What Was Literature? Class Culture and Mass Society. Among his many awards is the Modern Language Association’s Hubbell Medal for lifetime contribution to the study of American literature.
- Date of Birth:
- November 30, 1835
- Date of Death:
- April 21, 1910
- Place of Birth:
- Florida, Missouri
- Place of Death:
- Redding, Connecticut
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This is one of those books where you need to keep in mind a few essential facts if you are to get any enjoyment out of it. Firstly, it was never originally written as a book but as a series of letters to the Alta California. Secondly, it presents itself as being quite patriotic primarily in response to the Eurocentricism prevalent at the time (i.e. this is a riposte to all those Europhiles who think that the New World has no culture.) Overall, ignoring the fractured style and sometimes contradictory stances, it's a rollicking good read with a lot of laughs and tongue-in-cheek prodding at those cultural steriotypes with which we should all be familiar. This was the travelogue which made Twain famous and is therefore important since, up until 'Huckleberry Finn', nothing else of his sold as well. The episodes with the guides, called - without exception - 'Ferguson', are particularly hilarious and yet they make one wonder just how much Twain actually engaged with the cultures about which he wrote. The contemporary reader might be surprised by how unrepentantly prejudiced Twain is but I think this style makes the text refreshingly sincere. Political correctness takes a real back seat in this one!
This is a fascinating, extraordinary account, written by Mark Twain in relation to his travels throughout the Mediterranean, the Holy Land & other points of interest around 1867. Many readers will be familiar with Mark Twain from their school-days , perhaps having read the author's stories of `Tom Sawyer' & `Huckleberry Finn'. Although factual, this book is itself just as enjoyable a read as the author's other classics. I obtained my rather ancient copy of this book primarily to investigate the author's account of his travels through the Holy Land during the 19th Century, and his observations of the Holy Land, it's terrain, population, culture and character at that time. Noting that the author had also spent some time in Gibraltar at any early stage in his journey, I thought that I might also be able to gather some perception of the accuracy of his accounts, having personally lived in Gibraltar for a period of time & being familiar with Gibraltar's history. I was not to be disappointed and was quite impressed with the writer's description of Gibraltar and his interpretation of it's turbulent history. I was also impressed with the writer's account of so many locations within the Holy Land and the considerable amount of time that he devoted to it in his book. So many of the Judaeo-Christian sites that I am very familiar with are admirably described by the author and are instantly recognisable even after so many years. However, unlike today, where many of these areas are quite heavily populated and where the land has flourished in recent times, the author's account paints an utterly different picture during the 19th Century. A picture which flies heavily in the face of the `new historians' and the `revisionists', many of whom allege that the Land even then was quite heavily populated by `Palestinian Arabs' and was as verdant as the present day. Instead Mark Twain describes the Holy Land as being barely populated and just a collection of small villages in a dry, barren land, an outpost of the Ottoman Empire. He writes;- '...Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince...It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land...Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered it's fields and fettered it's energies...Nazareth is forlorn; about that ford of Jordan whee the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins of the desert; Jericho the accursed lies a mouldering ruin, today, even as Joshua's miracle left it more than three thousand years ago...Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all it's ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village...Capernaum is a shapeless ruin; Magdala is the home of beggared Arabs; Bethsaida and Chorazin have vanished from the earth...Palestine is desolate and unlovely. And why should it be otherwise ? Can the curse of the Deity beautify a land ?...' Although Jews having lived in the Holy Land since Biblical times, such a prophetic description being included within the Scriptures as indeed preceding the mass return of the Jewish people to their Land in the latter days which we now see. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Please note that some copies under the title 'Innocents Abroad' do not include the coverage of the Holy Land trip. Please ensure that you obtain the correct copy. Thank you.
This is one of the more entertaining books I've read lately. Twain's humor and sarcasm had me smiling and occasionally laughing out loud! The way he describes the cities and countries that he visits make you feel like you're right there with him. I also enjoyed the patriotism he weaves in throughout the book.
Not sure about the book but the sample is only reviews and explanations about Mark Twain. Not HIS words at all.
Published in 1869, this "diary" of a cruise from the USA to the Mediterranean and Holy Land, was quite popular in it's day. To read it in 2013, it was quite an adventure for sure. How fortunate that Mark Twain and many of his shipmates were men - they had the opportunities to make such an adventure and do and see what they wanted. This was not always possible for the women of the day. You have to remember what travel was like and how much was unknown while reading this. Not everyone would find this an interesting book, but worth a try if you are interested in old-time travel.
not Twain's best work.