The Unexpurgated Autobiography of Mark Twain

Books • Views: 15,962

Here’s a new book I’m very much looking forward to reading, reviewed by Larry Rohter in the New York Times Books section: Mark Twain’s Unexpurgated Autobiography.

Twain’s autobiography has been previously published, but only after meddlesome editors removed some passages, ostensibly to protect Twain’s reputation.

Versions of the autobiography have been published before, in 1924, 1940 and 1959. But the original editor, Albert Bigelow Paine, was a stickler for propriety, cutting entire sections he thought offensive; his successors imposed a chronological cradle-to-grave narrative that Twain had specifically rejected, altered his distinctive punctuation, struck additional material they considered uninteresting and generally bowed to the desire of Twain’s daughter Clara, who died in 1962, to protect her father’s image.

“Paine was a Victorian editor,” said Robert Hirst, curator and general editor of the Mark Twain Papers and Project at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, where Twain’s papers are housed. “He has an exaggerated sense of how dangerous some of Twain’s statements are going to be, which can extend to anything: politics, sexuality, the Bible, anything that’s just a little too radical. This goes on for a good long time, a protective attitude that is very harmful.”

Twain was especially harsh in his criticism of American involvement in Cuba and the Philippines.

Twain’s opposition to incipient imperialism and American military intervention in Cuba and the Philippines, for example, were well known even in his own time. But the uncensored autobiography makes it clear that those feelings ran very deep and includes remarks that, if made today in the context of Iraq or Afghanistan, would probably lead the right wing to question the patriotism of this most American of American writers.

In a passage removed by Paine, Twain excoriates “the iniquitous Cuban-Spanish War” and Gen. Leonard Wood’s “mephitic record” as governor general in Havana. In writing about an attack on a tribal group in the Philippines, Twain refers to American troops as “our uniformed assassins” and describes their killing of “six hundred helpless and weaponless savages” as “a long and happy picnic with nothing to do but sit in comfort and fire the Golden Rule into those people down there and imagine letters to write home to the admiring families, and pile glory upon glory.”

Oh, the right wing blogosphere would have a field day with Mark Twain today; imagine the rants from Jim Hoft and Ed Morrissey and Andrew Breitbart, and the death threats at Free Republic! I wish Pamela Geller would review the book, but right now she’s too busy writing mash notes to genocidal Serbian war criminals.

UPDATE at 7/11/10 1:48:36 pm:

Here’s a PBS News Hour segment on the new version of Twain’s autobiography.

Youtube Video

(Hat tip: Slumbering Behemoth.)

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
“They” Didn’t Pick Hillary. People who claim that "they" picked Hillary for the 2016 nominee (and shooed away other, better candidates) are flat out wrong with their analysis, in a way that does damage. No one picks who runs for president, least of ...
Charmingly Persistent
9 hours, 28 minutes ago
Views: 137 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 5 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Oxford Suspends Research Funding From China’s Huawei LONDON (AP) — Oxford University says it is suspending research grants and funding donations from Huawei amid growing security concerns about the Chinese telecom giant. It’s another setback for Huawei’s image in Europe, an important market for the company, ...
Thanos
3 days, 15 hours ago
Views: 190 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 11 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Season 3 Premiere of VictoriaFor those who are interested Season 3 of Victoria premieres this evening. Please check your local listings for times. Main PBS website:pbs.org
PhillyPretzel
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 262 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Ten Reasons Why Gold Will Remain Above $1250 in 2019Fun fact- A healthy economy drops gold lower over time. Read with caution As far as investing goes, I read an indictment of economic policy from Trump in this. After a healthy consolidation period below strong resistance around the $1300 ...
Unshaken Defiance
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 343 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Season Pass for Victoria Season 3 at AmazonOT I am still surprised that there are people complaining about Victoria Season 3 on Amazon. The 3rd season of Victoria will start on January 13, 2019. I again wrote a review explaining the basic season pass rules and it ...
PhillyPretzel
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 315 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Ghost-Note - Can’t Get Right - Old Growth Sessions @Pickathon 2017 S02E08 Old Growth Series - Season 2 - Episode 8 Outside Magazine presents Ghost-Note in this episode of the Pickathon Old Growth Series. Visit Outside Magazine (outsideonline.com) on the 1st Thursday of every month for a new Old Growth Series ...
Thanos
2 weeks, 1 day ago
Views: 492 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Clean Bandit - Baby (Feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi) [Official Video]Download or stream now: atlanti.crTaken from our new album "What Is Love?" - out now: atlanti.cr Click here to subscribe: bit.ly Follow us:Website: cleanbandit.co.ukFacebook: facebook.com Twitter: twitter.com Instagram: instagram.comSoundcloud: SoundCloudSpotify: atlre.co.uk
Thanos
2 weeks, 1 day ago
Views: 557 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Khruangbin - Maria También (Live on KEXP)kexp.org presents Khruangbin performing "Maria También" live in the KEXP studio. Recorded April 26, 2018. Host: Cheryl WatersAudio Engineers: Tim Iseler & Kevin Suggs Cameras: Alaia D'Alessandro, Scott Holpainen & Justin WilmoreEditor: Justin Wilmore kexp.orgkhruangbin.com
Thanos
2 weeks, 1 day ago
Views: 668 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
kokoroko - abusey junction // we out here Follow - Kokoroko - bit.lyWatch - We Out Here A LDN Story - bit.lyBuy - We Out Here - bit.ly A primer on London’s bright-burning young jazz scene, this new compilation brings together a collection of some of its ...
Thanos
2 weeks, 1 day ago
Views: 562 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Cyber Phrenology - How Is It a Thing?I'm not a computer maven. So, I apologize in advance if this post is old news for some. It is a shallow water dive into the world of influencing public opinion via memes and social media postings.I came across this ...
qubit2020
2 weeks, 3 days ago
Views: 509 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0