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Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,524 Ratings  ·  617 Reviews
"I've struck it!" Mark Twain wrote in a 1904 letter to a friend. "And I will give it away—to you. You will never know how much enjoyment you have lost until you get to dictating your autobiography." Thus, after dozens of false starts and hundreds of pages, Twain embarked on his "Final (and Right) Plan" for telling the story of his life. His innovative notion—to "talk only ...more
Kindle Edition, 738 pages
Published February 25th 2012 by University of California Press (first published 1924)
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mai ahmd
Nov 26, 2014 mai ahmd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

يقول مارك توين إنه كتب هذه السيرة من أجل لقمة العيش .. والمؤسف حقا إنه خلال كتابته لهذه السيرة فقد ابنته جين مما جعله يتوقف عن الكتابة حتى عاد لها بعد فترة مريرة من الحزن والشعور بالفراغ فتجده يردد لمن بنيت هذا البيت فالفراغ يحيط به بعد خطوب عديدة مرت عليه منها وفاة زوجته ورفيقة دربه وأميرة حياته الزوجة التي قال عنها توين إنها أنبل وأرق وأجمل مخلوق عرفته في حياتي

مارك توين كاتب رائع قرأت له توم سوير قبل كم شهر ووجدت أن تلك الرواية الرائعة لا تقل براءة وجمالا وشقاوة عن ذلك الكارتون الرائع الذي جس
Dec 22, 2010 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read the whole thing cover to cover (minus the appendix notes, which I merely browsed). And as massive as it was, I was genuinely sad when the last page came. That's all? I'm ready for volume two right now.

I feel so fortunate to be alive in 2010 and get to read these words Twain didn't want published until 100 years after his death. Actually, much of it has been published before so there was a lot I was already familiar with. But it was almost magical to read Twain's thoughts, musings, and mor
blue-collar mind
Nov 30, 2015 blue-collar mind rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well let me start off by saying I have always disliked Garrison Keillor and now feel certain that it would be reciprocal if say we met at a party. I am quite sure he would stand in the middle of the room and give us his opinion on any number of subjects while many tried to politely ignore his pompous drift. And that finally I would not be able to keep my opinion silent and the two of us would end with a "oh, really? Why should I care what you think?" sort of back and forth that is never resolved ...more
Mar 10, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I read this in the audiobook version.
The editors’ long and tedious explanation of the autobiographical material takes up most of the first part of this three-part audiobook. I believe that Mark Twain would have had a good laugh at the pomposity of the editors and their footnotes; unfortunately I found it insufferably boring and a very poor use of audio. If I had been reading a print version I would have skimmed or skipped this beginning all together.

I wanted to read Twain’s writing not what all
Aug 01, 2011 Sheri rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It is a sorry day when I have to write a review of anything by Mark Twain and say I didn't like it, given that I adore Twain and pretty much all of his (previously) published works. So why didn't I like this book? And why will I boycott Volumes 2 and 3 when (presumably) they're published? Because this book is the literary equivalent of what you see when a famous musician dies and his/her copyright heirs rush to release every garage recording ever made by the dead musician. The only difference he ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

It's funny, I think, how random the process can sometimes be of who we as a culture decide to remember for decades or sometimes centuries after their time, and who we tend to forget just a generation or two after their death, no matter how famous they were when alive; take for example Samuel Clemens, who I
Fred Houston
Twain requested that his publisher wait 100 years after his death to publish his Autobiography because he wanted to vent about some of the people he knew in his lifetime, but didn't necessarily want to instigate libel suites. So I was ready for some classic, vintage Twain, and as soon as I was aware of the book I ordered it.

Well, after slogging my way through most of it I can say that, for me, there is a lot of auto, and not a lot of biography in the book. Twain is unable to write anything witho
Steven Peterson
Oct 21, 2010 Steven Peterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! This volume is a wonder. For one thing, it provides something like a mystery novel perspective on the archeology of Samuel Clemens'/Mark Twain's autobiography. He wrote fragments to be part of this document over a period of four decades. Simply getting a sense of the architecture for this work desired by Twain is a contribution of this work.

Also, Twain notes that he is unable to be consistently honest about his life. Nice candor! He demanded that his version not be published until 100 years
Yazeed AlMogren
Nov 23, 2015 Yazeed AlMogren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
سيرة ذاتية تشعرك بالحميميّة، عانى مارك توين من فقدان أفراد عائلته الواحد تلو الآخر وهو مايستحوذ على نصف كتابه كما أستحوذ على نصف حياته
Mark Mikula
Oct 15, 2012 Mark Mikula rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
It makes me feel uncomfortable to admit that I did not get much out of the Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1. With the exception of a handful of passages, I thought it was a dreary mess, not worth publication. For someone as revered and iconic as Mark Twain, I expected to enjoy this so much more.

I am reminded occasionally in revisiting Twain about how frequently he impresses me with his skill with the language--especially with verbs--though. The verbs really crackle in his writing, primarily
Jan 09, 2011 Andres rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sonyreader
This is volume one of what is supposed to be a 3-volume work, but as of this writing is the only volume that has been published. A few days ago the news that some idiot is publishing a sanitized (censored) version of Huckleberry Finn made headlines. The idea is to expunge the word "nigger" from the book. While I can understand that the term is charged with emotional energy due to its derogatory use, it is nonetheless part and parcel of the history of the time, and Huckleberry Finn, as a beautifu ...more
Mr. Mullins
Feb 16, 2012 Mr. Mullins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs
For full disclosure, I am biased towards Twain, and though many may not like the unconventional structure or all the academic discussion surrounding the actual voice of Twain, I enjoyed it tremendously. His voice was there in the text. It was as one poster pointed out like sitting down with him and having a conversation. It flowed from one item to the next as he wished it to often with acute insight into historical figures he had dined with or met and his wide travels. I look forward to what com ...more
غيث حسن
Mar 12, 2016 غيث حسن rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ابحث عن هذه المذكرات، لأنها تستحق أن تقرأ.

الرائع مارك توين ما إن تقرأ عن مغامراته وشقاوته في أيام الصبا والشباب حتى تدرك أنه لاغرابة في أن هذه الروح الطفولية التي تعدو أمامك كتبت رائعة " توم سوير ".

ومن مغامراته التي تنم عن تهوره وإقدامه أذكر ما قام به وقت عمله كمراسل لصحيفة "مورننغ كول" وهو افتعاله ورفقائه للحرائق بغرض خلق مادة للنشر الصحفي و الذي كان شحيحاً آن ذاك.

حقيقةً لم أجد في سيرته ما يثير للدهشة أو ما قد يميّزه عن الغالبية العظمى من جيله من الكتاب .
هي شبيه بأغلب السيّر الذاتية التي نقرأها لأدباء وعظماء ومشاهير من حولنا؛ من حيث ت
Richard Sutton
Dec 01, 2010 Richard Sutton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers and readers alike
First and foremost, this is not a book to be...completed. At least not in a linear fashion. Rather, it is a collection of the observations of the nineteenth century's most formidable speaker, novelist and pundit. Mr. Clemens -- Twain if you prefer -- is still, 100 years after his death, a remarkably honest, gifted and very funny writer. The volume begins with almost 5/8" of literary authenticity and notes regarding the inception of this particular attempt at publishing it all. Thumb past it quic ...more
Jun 07, 2011 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just spent several hours browsing this book drawn from Twain's intermittent writing, typing and dictating over 30 years or so. It strikes me as a ponderous academic folly. For all the time spent editing these papers the result is a formless jumble of outtakes and emphemera.

Much of it is obviously sketches that Twain intended to revise later or never wished to publish.
Example from page 240 about Villa de Quarto:

"There is a history of the house somewhere, and some time or other I shall get it
Nov 19, 2010 Brady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The five stars is for the actual autobiography itself. The book is over 700 pages, but about half of that is introduction, preliminary manuscripts and notes, additional notes, etc etc. I think the editors went a bit overboard with that side of it. But Twain's actual content is terrific. Simply terrific. He led a most amazing life and relates it in such a way it feels like anyone could also achieve it. I look forward to the future volumes - especially if it's easier to avoid all the editorial mat ...more
Oct 01, 2010 Natalie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Why leave your autobiography unpublished for 100 years? so you can be "dead, and unaware, and indifferent" by the time anyone reads it according to Mark Twain! I am looking forward to this first volume of uncensored autobiography to be released Oct 29th! Might be a time capsule of quotes or a revelation of the goings on a century ago, or neither .. . but it's tempting stuff nonetheless.
Fahad Alqurain
Aug 28, 2015 Fahad Alqurain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
عظيم عظيم جداً
Dec 14, 2010 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read only the free ebook sample from the Amazon Kindle Store.
I may purchase the printed hardcover edition.
More importantly, I registered online to
As you will find on the home screen, they have the latest electronic edition of the entire first volume of the autobiography, complete with annotations, commentaries, and appendices. It's free.

The sample I read prepared me for the online features. Besides the text of the autobiography, you get highlighted links to every
Donna Davis
Initially I was surprised not to have seen the autobiography of such a famous individual before. Twain, I learned at the outset, composed his memoir with the stipulation that it not be published until 100 years following his death, because he wanted to be entirely frank about some situations and persons without incurring the displeasure of them, their children, or their grandchildren. Twain died in 1910, and his memoir had been finished just four months. For those of us living now, it was worth ...more
Apr 30, 2015 Michele rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, nonfiction
Do yourself a favor and don't get this as an audiobook.
...what? am I the only one that attempted to listen to this tome?...
Bottom line- too many footnotes, editor explanations, and the story isn't linear enough for sound to be your only guide.

I will attempt this again but with a physical book this time.
I am a little apprehensive; a book should be edited and have a story to tell. From the many author and editor-added explanations in the audiobook, Mark Twain's purpose with these volumes was to
آنسة مَطَرْ
يا لجمال هذه السيرة! عندما بدأت قراءتها لم أتوقع منها الكثير بتاتًا، لكن الآن وبعد أن انتهيت منها انعقد لساني وعلمت أن ظني كان خاطئًا. لا أعلم ما أقول لكي أوفي حقها. لشد ما أعجبتني هذه السيرة!
لم أظن إن مارك توين قد مرّ بمثل هذه الظروف القاسية من الوضع الاقتصادي السيء حتى فقدان الأحبّة المرير.
أعجبتني قصص صباه كانت ممتعة ومُرفهة عن النفس. كذلك قد أعجبني وصفه في فقدان أَحِبته بالأخص زوجته.
التي قال فيها:
"لقد أجمل وأرقى وأنبل من عرفت في حياتي. وهي الآن ترقد بسلام".
سيرة حميمية لمشاغبٍ مرح. تستحق القرا
Haven Fairfield
My wife wanted this and got it for Christmas from her very generous brother and sister-in-law. Apparently, they forgot about her shady husband's pilfering ways. I snagged it away from her 'to read' pile before she had time to remove the shrink wrap. I then commenced to take three months to read the damned thing. My only regret is that I forgot I was part of this "Goodreads" website. I had been writing reviews of books prior to reading this one. This means I should write a review of Mark Twain's ...more
Thomas Clark
Feb 01, 2011 Thomas Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a book that I enjoyed studying, learning as much about Mark Twain as his specific beliefs on how an autobiography should be written. It is a large, detailed text with notes, cross references, and editorial comment. The editing and compilation is very detailed, and very laudable. Mark Twain believed that his autobiography should be dictated to a stenographer and not follow chronological order. He spoke as subjects crossed his mind, hopping from one topic to the next. This book is like ta ...more
Nov 13, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Chrissie, Hayes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Busko
Dec 07, 2010 Robert Busko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This particular autobiography is like setting down with Samuel Clemens in a room and having a casual conversation with the man. His thoughts are clear and expressed conversationally and appear to come to the forefront almost as if he were speaking privately with a friend. One of the most impressive things about Clemens in his autobiography is his willingness to speak candidly and with little restraint. I suspect this came from his knowing that what he said would not be published for 100 years af ...more
Jul 28, 2012 Austin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came away from reading (listening to actually - it was an audiobook) Mark Twain's autobiography with what feels like a healthy understanding of who Mark Twain was and to some extent what he was like. This was especially gratifying because, as is the case with most humans, he reminds me a lot of myself in some ways, notably his inability to wake up or stay awake in the wee hours of the morning to tend the needs of the children (I fall asleep, and stay asleep with no known exceptions), and his d ...more
Sep 11, 2012 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though this is not a great book, it is a good contribution to the picture of the man who was perhaps our greatest idealist. He lived through and witnessed so much important history. He knew presidents, kings, scoundrels, and very simple people. He speaks with a great deal of warmth and humanity about many different people. And he pokes as much fun, and scorn, at himself as he does anyone else (particularly editors) in this rambling reminiscence.

The book is too long. It is best digested as an aud
James Enge
Nov 12, 2010 James Enge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not Twain's greatest work, and a lot of it has seen the light of day before. But earlier editions distorted the book in two ways, one of which Twain intended and the other he didn't.

Whereas this edition proposes to publish the complete text of Twain autobiographical writings in three volumes (and online at, earlier editions left a lot of the text out. That would have been fine with Twain: he envisioned a series of editions after his death, each successiv
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Goodreads Librari...: Autobiography of Mark Twain, vol 1, publication date 3 23 Dec 15, 2011 08:42PM  
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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work
More about Mark Twain...

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“He said that man’s heart was the only bad heart in the animal kingdom; that man was the only animal capable of feeling malice, envy, vindictiveness, revengefulness, hatred, selfishness, the only animal that loves drunkenness, almost the only animal that could endure personal uncleanliness and a filthy habitation, the sole animal in whom was fully developed the base instinct called patriotism, the sole animal that robs, persecutes, oppresses and kills members of his own tribe, the sole animal that steals and enslaves the members of any tribe.” 45 likes
“I have been on the verge of being an angel all my life, but it's never happened yet.” 15 likes
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