Rita's Reviews > A Tramp Abroad

A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain
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Feb 12, 12

bookshelves: travel-book
Read in February, 2012

What I have is the abridged edition [300 pp only] of 1977. In his intro [which I found not terriby well written], Charles Neider gives highly useful context for the book. Twain wrote this book because he had to, he needed the money to support his family. Neider thinks it is better and funnier than Innocents -- in places. But very uneven, and that's why he produced this abridged version. I have never read Innocents, and perhaps need not attempt to...

The chapter making fun of the German language is really priceless, and a few other stories are nice to read, but I did not get far in the book before stopping. The style of humor is perhaps too often outdated for me.

The following passage in the introduction goes a long way to showing me why I don't enjoy these stories more:

In a letter to Howells [editor of the Atlantic] dated 30 Jan 1879, Samuel Clemens wrote:
“I have destroyed such lots of MS written for this book! And I suppose there are such lots left which ought to be destroyed. If it should be, it shall be – that is certain. …. I wish I could give those sharp satires on European life which you mention, but of course a man can’t write successful satire except he be in a calm judicial good humor – whereas I hate travel, and I hate hotels, and I hate the opera, and I hate the Old Masters – in truth I don’t ever seem to be in a good enough humor with anything to satirize it; no, I want to stand up before it and curse it, and foam at the mouth – or take a club and pound it to rags and pulp. I have got in two or three chapters about Wagner’s Operas, and managed to do it without showing temper – but the strain of another such effort would burst me. …. I want to make a book which people will read – and I shall make it profitable reading in spots – in spots merely because there’s not much material for a larger amount.”
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