Louis J. Budd, editor. This landmark collection-the best and by far the fullest ever published-is the first to present the whole dazzling range of Twain's moods and styles: the tall tales and short stories, high satires and low burlesques, essays, hoaxes, anecdotes, speeches, philosophical dialogues, fables, poems, and now-familiar maxims. Based on extensive research into original sources, the pieces in this collection cover Twain's entire career and take aim at everything from the fashion pages to presidential politics. This volume includes "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog," "Cannibalism in the Cars," "The Invalid's Story," as well as several of his most famous and successful speeches like "Woman-God Bless Her," "The Babies," and "Advice to Youth."
This Library of America book, with its companion volume, is the most comprehensive collection ever published of Mark Twain's short writings the incomparable stories, sketches, burlesques, hoaxes, tall tales, speeches, satires, and maxims of America's greatest humorist. Arranged chronologically and containing many pieces restored to the form in which Twain intended them to appear, the volumes show with unprecedented clarity the literary evolution of Mark Twain over six decades of his career.
The nearly two hundred separate items in this volume cover the years from 1852 to 1890. As a riverboat pilot, Confederate irregular, silver miner, frontier journalist, and publisher, Twain witnessed the tragicomic beginning of the Civil War in Missouri, the frenzied opening of the West, and the feverish corruption, avarice, and ambition of the Reconstruction era. He wrote about political bosses, jumping frogs, robber barons, cats, women's suffrage, temperance, petrified men, the bicycle, the Franco-Prussian War, the telephone, the income tax, the insanity defense, injudicious swearing, and the advisability of political candidates preemptively telling the worst about themselves before others get around to it.
Among the stories included here are "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog," which won him instant fame when published in 1865, "Cannibalism in the Cars," "The Invalid's Story," and the charming "A Cat's Tale," written for his daughters' private amusement. This volume also presents several of his famous and successful speeches and toasts, such as "Woman God Bless Her," "The Babies," and "Advice to Youth." Such writings brought Twain immense success on the public lecture and banquet circuit, as did his controversial "Whittier Birthday Speech," which portrayed Boston's most revered men of letters as a band of desperadoes.
Volume editor Louis J. Budd (1921-2010) was professor of English at Duke University and the author of Our Mark Twain: The Making of His Public Personality.
"These sketches and stories are a national treasure. The Library of America ought to be commended for issuing them in an attractive edition." -- The Dallas Morning News
From the Boxed Set edition.