The author of American classics such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn had left strict instructions that his uncensored autobiography remain unpublished until 100 years after his death. That would be this year.
The University of California Press will publish Twain’s autobiography “in its entirety and exactly as he left it.” Volume I, at 743 pages, is slated for release in November. The remaining two volumes should appear within five years, said Alex Dahne, UC Press spokeswoman.
Excited? You should be.
Twain’s uncensored writings show the same penchant for humor and sharp social commentary as his novels. Along with barbed criticisms of friends and acquaintances, Twain discusses God, politics and, on one occasion, a sex toy.
Twain thought his autobiography would be most entertaining if he went off on whims and tangents in non-sequential order. It’s not in chronological order because that’s not what he wanted.
After several attempts to write the autobiography with his own hand, Twain ended up dictating it. As he wrote to a friend in 1904, “You will never know how much enjoyment you have lost until you get to dictating your autobiography.”
Good luck to those planning their book releases in November.
Here are some words Twain famously uttered:
“A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.”
“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
“I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.”