Mark Twain: A Tramp Abroad, Following the Equator, Other Travels

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Overview

It was as a humorous travel writer, in The Innocents Abroad and Roughing It, that Mark Twain first became widely known, and at the height of his career he returned to the genre in the works collected here. Like those earlier books, the frequently hilarious A Tramp Abroad (1880)-based on his family's 16-month sojourn in Europe from April 1878 to August 1879-blends autobiography and fiction, facts and tall tales. Twain's send-up of Old World customs as well as his critical dissections of Wagnerian opera and the ...

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Overview

It was as a humorous travel writer, in The Innocents Abroad and Roughing It, that Mark Twain first became widely known, and at the height of his career he returned to the genre in the works collected here. Like those earlier books, the frequently hilarious A Tramp Abroad (1880)-based on his family's 16-month sojourn in Europe from April 1878 to August 1879-blends autobiography and fiction, facts and tall tales. Twain's send-up of Old World customs as well as his critical dissections of Wagnerian opera and the German language are often interlaced with American reminiscences, whether in the form of an extended discourse on the language of blue jays or the recollection of an elaborate practical joke in Hannibal, Missouri, involving a printer's devil and a skeleton. A Tramp Abroad is presented here with the author's original sketches.

Written at a time of financial trouble and personal loss (the death of the author's beloved daughter Susy), Following the Equator (1897) is a darker and more politicized account of a lecture tour around the world, with Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, India, Mauritius, and South Africa among the stop­overs. Using humorous but often biting anecdotes as well as keen journalist reporting, the book details bush life in Australia and the culture of the Maoris in New Zealand, while lashing out at social inequities such as the Indian caste system, and racist imperialism connected with European settlement and gold mining in southern Africa. Twain rounds out the volume with extensive historical accounts ranging from the Black Hole of Calcutta to the events in South Africa that would lead shortly to the Boer War.

This volume also includes 13 shorter pieces, most of them uncollected by the author, including a lengthy firsthand narrative of the shah of Persia's 1873 visit to London, an 1891 description of Richard Wagner's operas performed at Bayreuth, an 1897 account of Queen Victoria's jubilee in London, and an 1898 analysis of vitriolic Austrian parliamentary proceedings. The texts of several of these "other travels" are presented in newly corrected and fully restored versions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598530667
  • Publisher: Library of America, The
  • Publication date: 3/4/2010
  • Pages: 1151
  • Sales rank: 677,298
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, in 1835, and died at Redding, Connecticut in 1910. In his person and in his pursuits he 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 sentimentaland also pessimistic, cynical, and tortured by self-doubt. His nostalgia 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.”

Biography

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri; his family moved to the port town of Hannibal four years later. His father, an unsuccessful farmer, died when Twain was eleven. Soon afterward the boy began working as an apprentice printer, and by age sixteen he was writing newspaper sketches. He left Hannibal at eighteen to work as an itinerant printer in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. From 1857 to 1861 he worked on Mississippi steamboats, advancing from cub pilot to licensed pilot.

After river shipping was interrupted by the Civil War, Twain headed west with his brother Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the Nevada Territory. Settling in Carson City, he tried his luck at prospecting and wrote humorous pieces for a range of newspapers. Around this time he first began using the pseudonym Mark Twain, derived from a riverboat term. Relocating to San Francisco, he became a regular newspaper correspondent and a contributor to the literary magazine the Golden Era. He made a five-month journey to Hawaii in 1866 and the following year traveled to Europe to report on the first organized tourist cruise. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (1867) consolidated his growing reputation as humorist and lecturer.

After his marriage to Livy Langdon, Twain settled first in Buffalo, New York, and then for two decades in Hartford, Connecticut. His European sketches were expanded into The Innocents Abroad (1869), followed by Roughing It (1872), an account of his Western adventures; both were enormously successful. Twain's literary triumphs were offset by often ill-advised business dealings (he sank thousands of dollars, for instance, in a failed attempt to develop a new kind of typesetting machine, and thousands more into his own ultimately unsuccessful publishing house) and unrestrained spending that left him in frequent financial difficulty, a pattern that was to persist throughout his life.

Following The Gilded Age (1873), written in collaboration with Charles Dudley Warner, Twain began a literary exploration of his childhood memories of the Mississippi, resulting in a trio of masterpieces --The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and finally The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), on which he had been working for nearly a decade. Another vein, of historical romance, found expression in The Prince and the Pauper (1882), the satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), while he continued to draw on his travel experiences in A Tramp Abroad (1880) and Following the Equator (1897). His close associates in these years included William Dean Howells, Bret Harte, and George Washington Cable, as well as the dying Ulysses S. Grant, whom Twain encouraged to complete his memoirs, published by Twain's publishing company in 1885.

For most of the 1890s Twain lived in Europe, as his life took a darker turn with the death of his daughter Susy in 1896 and the worsening illness of his daughter Jean. The tone of Twain's writing also turned progressively more bitter. The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894), a detective story hinging on the consequences of slavery, was followed by powerful anti-imperialist and anticolonial statements such as 'To the Person Sitting in Darkness' (1901), 'The War Prayer' (1905), and 'King Leopold's Soliloquy' (1905), and by the pessimistic sketches collected in the privately published What Is Man? (1906). The unfinished novel The Mysterious Stranger was perhaps the most uncompromisingly dark of all Twain's later works. In his last years, his financial troubles finally resolved, Twain settled near Redding, Connecticut, and died in his mansion, Stormfield, on April 21, 1910.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Samuel Langhorne Clemens (real name); Sieur Louis de Conte
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1835
    2. Place of Birth:
      Florida, Missouri
    1. Date of Death:
      April 21, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Redding, Connecticut

Table of Contents

A Tramp Abroad 1

Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World 405

Other Travels

The Shah of Persia 885

Aix-les-Bains 921

Bayreuth 934

Playing Courier 947

An Austrian Health Factory 962

The Cradle of Liberty 974

The Chicago of Europe 985

The Cholera Epidemic in Hamburg 983

Down the Rhone 1003

The Lost Napoleon 1030

Some National Stupidities 1034

Queen Victoria's Jubilee 1042

Stirring Times in Austria 1053

Chronology 1087

Note on the Texts 1123

Notes 1129

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Excellent Edition

    The Library of America edition of this Mark Twain classic is well done. The binding, size, and font are all good.

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