mark twain. the trilogy.


The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become. – Mark Twain

There’s a photo of me unwrapping Christmas presents, hands to head, squealing in excitement. I remember being tickled to death at my gifts but if The Euro had not caught it on camera I would have sworn he exaggerated. In addition to a new “Christmas Carol” illustrated by Coralie Bickford-Smith, there was Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom”, Roberto Bolano’s “2666” – which I can never manage to check out from the library long enough to finish – and “The Autobiography of Mark Twain” (Volume I).

For the few earthly individuals who don’t already know, when Mark Twain died in 1910 he left behind 5,000 unedited pages of memoirs together with a handwritten note not to publish them for at least a century. The Manuscripts have been held in a vault at the University of California, Berkley, and until now only academics, biographers, and members of the public prepared to travel to the university’s Bancroft research library have been able to read it in full. The first volume was released in November and most bookstores, Amazon included, sold out as soon as.

The Autobiography of Mark Twain (Volume I); Freedom, Jonathan Franzen; 2666, Roberto Bolano

Scholars are divided as to why Twain wanted 100 years between himself and his memoirs. Some believe he wanted to talk freely about his views on politics and religions. Others, that he didn’t want to offend any of his friends. And still others, that he liked the drama of it all and didn’t want us to forget him. “When people ask me,” said Robert Hirst, who is leading the team at Berkeley editing the complete text, “‘did Mark Twain really mean it to take 100 years for this to come out’, I say ‘he was certainly a man who knew how to make people want to buy a book’.”

The eventual trilogy will run to half a million words.

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3 Comments

  • Marelie
    Jan 4, 2011 at 10:06

    Hey there, Buffy. I must say that I stand in awe that you have been keeping your blog alive for more than 5 years! I have only recently started my own blog – ParchNotes – which, although still terrifyingly young, is swiftly becoming my pride and joy. Your writing is truly engaging. Keep up the great work 🙂

  • Buffy
    Jan 4, 2011 at 21:28

    @Marelie – thanks for your comment and the introduction to your blog. It goes nicely with a WSJ article I just this moment finished reading on Mindfulness as a form of Behavioral Cognitive Therapy. You’ll have to have a look and tell me what you think.
    Conquering Self Doubt

  • Marelie
    Jan 5, 2011 at 21:25

    Thanks for the link – I found the content very fascinating. Mindfulness really reminds me of meditation, which in some cases can just be a matter of shifting one’s consciousness. When I was 13 I started meditating a lot and realized/observed a few things; amongst others how entangled we become in one emotion that we cannot even think straight. It became evident to me that some type of ‘distraction’ is needed in order to remain ‘sane’. So it is important to become aware – mindful, if you please – of ourselves, our thoughts, behavior, surroundings… in order to ‘center’ ourselves into a state of balance, for lack of a better word. Sorry, I do realize my answer is excessive!

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