Sunday, June 6, 2010

100 years after Mark Twain's death

By Trina Boice

Mark Twain spent the last decade of his life toiling over his autobiography, and demanded the text not be published until 100 years after his death. That day has finally come.

Mark Twain wrote 5,000 pages of his memoir, and the University of California Berkeley will publish the first volume this fall. The eventual trilogy will have half a million words. Scholars argue over whether the Tom Sawyer author wanted to delay publication to talk freely about religion and politics or gossip freely about friends.

Twain thought Christian missionaries trekking to Africa should stay in their own country and try to do something about lynching in the South.   An angry 400-page addendum details the tumultuous relationship with secretary Isabel Van Kleek Lyon in the last years of his life. Some say she “hypnotized” Twain into giving her power of attorney over his estate.

Whatever his motivations, Twain was certainly a man who knew how to make people want to buy a book!  What a legacy he left.  A century of readers, young and old, know Mark Twain's writings.  Now we'll get to know some of his thoughts behind the books. 


Steve said...

How interesting. I had no idea he had a memoir that had not been released. Whether its gossip or his feelings on religion and politics, I'm sure it will be fascinating.