Mark Twain's Letters, Volume 5: 1872-1873

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"Livy darling, it was flattering, at the Lord Mayor's dinner, tonight, to have the nation's honored favorite, the Lord High Chancellor of England, in his vast wig & gown, with a splendid, sword-bearing lackey, following him & holding up his train, walk me arm-in-arm through the brilliant assemblage, & welcome me with all the enthusiasm of a girl, & tell me that when affairs of state oppress him & he can't sleep, he always has my books at hand & forgets ...

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1997 Hard cover Annotated. New in fine dust jacket. Nice new hardcover with dust jacket! Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is tight. Light shelf wear. Securely packed. Sewn ... binding. Cloth over boards. 974 p. Mark Twain's Letters. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

"Livy darling, it was flattering, at the Lord Mayor's dinner, tonight, to have the nation's honored favorite, the Lord High Chancellor of England, in his vast wig & gown, with a splendid, sword-bearing lackey, following him & holding up his train, walk me arm-in-arm through the brilliant assemblage, & welcome me with all the enthusiasm of a girl, & tell me that when affairs of state oppress him & he can't sleep, he always has my books at hand & forgets his perplexities in reading them!" (10 November 1872)

On his first trip to England to gather material for a book and cement relations with his newly authorized English publishers, Samuel Clemens was astounded to find himself hailed everywhere as a literary lion. America's premier humorist had begun his long tenure as an international celebrity. Meanwhile, he was coming into his full power at home. The Innocents Abroad continued to produce impressive royalties and his new book, Roughing It, was enjoying great popularity.
In newspaper columns he appeared regularly as public advocate and conscience, speaking on issues as disparate as safety at sea and political corruption. Clemens's personal life at this time was for the most part fulfilling, although saddened by the loss of his nineteen-month-old son, Langdon, who died of diphtheria. Life in the Nook Farm community of writers and progressive thinkers and activists was proving to be all the Clemenses had hoped for.

The 309 letters in this volume, more than half of them never before published, capture the events of these years with detailed intimacy. Thoroughly annotated and indexed, they are supplemented by genealogical charts of the Clemens and Langdon families, a transcription of the journals Clemens kept during his 1872 visit to England, book contracts, his preface to the English edition of The Gilded Age, contemporary photographs of family and friends, and a gathering of all newly discovered letters written between 1865 and 1871. This volume is the fifth in the only complete edition of Mark Twain's letters ever attempted, and the twenty-fourth in the comprehensive edition known as The Mark Twain Papers and Works of Mark Twain.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The 309 comprehensively annotated letters in the fifth volume of Twain's correspondence help illuminate his 36th and 37th years, a largely happy and exuberant time when he was tasting the first fruits of domestic and foreign celebrity. With The Innocents Abroad still selling briskly, Roughing It just off the press, and The Gilded Age (co-written with his Nook Farm neighbor Charles Dudley Warner) in progress, Twain tries to swear off humorous lecturing, which exhausts him and separates him from his wife, Olivia. But, with an elaborate mansion under construction in Hartford and the lure of the heady applause of adoring audiences, he returns to England to lecture, savoring his fame and establishing his lifelong affection for England. In this volume, brief business letters abound -- to his lecture agent and publisher, etc. But personal letters predominate -- to his old San Francisco friends, to his mother and hapless brother Orion, to his beloved wife. There is not a boring letter herein. -- Charles C. Nash, Cottey College, Nevada, Missouri
Library Journal
The 309 comprehensively annotated letters in the fifth volume of Twain's correspondence help illuminate his 36th and 37th years, a largely happy and exuberant time when he was tasting the first fruits of domestic and foreign celebrity. With The Innocents Abroad still selling briskly, Roughing It just off the press, and The Gilded Age (co-written with his Nook Farm neighbor Charles Dudley Warner) in progress, Twain tries to swear off humorous lecturing, which exhausts him and separates him from his wife, Olivia. But, with an elaborate mansion under construction in Hartford and the lure of the heady applause of adoring audiences, he returns to England to lecture, savoring his fame and establishing his lifelong affection for England. In this volume, brief business letters abound -- to his lecture agent and publisher, etc. But personal letters predominate -- to his old San Francisco friends, to his mother and hapless brother Orion, to his beloved wife. There is not a boring letter herein. -- Charles C. Nash, Cottey College, Nevada, Missouri
Louis J. Budd
Many a Twanian will come back to learn more on some matter that he or she is not the least concerned about now....assorted examples of facts waiting for users would grow zanier than a sketch for "Mad TV"....[B]eneficiaries of the first four volumes of this edition don't need my assurances, but...I can't help expressing my enthusiasm again (Louis J. Budd is a professor at Duke University). -- Mississippi Quarterly
Kirkus Reviews
An astonishingly dull but comprehensively annotated collection of letters from an unexceptional period in Twain's life. Like the phone book, this is one of those hefty tomes you're terribly glad exists, even though there's little reason to go through it cover to cover. Its very thoroughness, its rounding up of every epistolary scrap, from bills, to perfunctory thank-yous, to itineraries of arrivals and departures, ensures vast stretches of tedium. But even when not quarreling over printing details with his publisher or setting up dates for speaking tours, Twain the correspondent bears little relationship to Twain the genius of 19th-century American literature. Even when he is corresponding with intimate friends or his beloved wife, Olivia (Livy), there is an unrevealing quality to almost every letter, as if he were deliberately resting his talent. Salamo and Smith (members of the Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Library, University of California) are to be commended for the incredible depth, range, and detail of their work. Their scholarship is impeccable, their erudition extensive—one has the feeling that they could probably account for almost every hour of Twain's life—and learned footnotes abound, often dwarfing the brief letters. During this time span, Twain embarked on building a house, suffered the death of a child, and made regular visits to England, sometimes to lecture, sometimes to bask in the warm admiration of the British. He also published his only co-written book (The Gilded Age, with Charles Dudley Warner). But Huckleberry Finn and the full flowering of Twain's talent are still several years away. A major scholarly resource, but slow-going andunrewarding, proof of how compartmentalized genius can sometimes be.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520208223
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 7/7/1997
  • Series: Mark Twain Papers Series , #5
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 974
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 2.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Twain

Lin Salamo and Harriet Elinor Smith are editors with the Mark Twain Project in The Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley. Editorial work for this volume was generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and by donations to The Friends of The Bancroft Library from the Barkley Fund.

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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

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