Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews

Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews

Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews

Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews

Excerpt

According to Louis J. Budd, Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) “was probably interviewed more often” than any other author of his time. To be sure, many of these interviews were relatively insignificant but, as Budd adds, “even a slipshod interview may hold a fact or judgment that fits while enriching other sources about his career.” The 258 interviews with Mark Twain transcribed in this edition fill a yawning gap in Twain studies. Neither private correspondence nor published writings, they represent another form of “autobiographical dictation” recorded over a period of nearly forty years. They contain the largest body of autobiographical material about Mark Twain still unavailable to scholars and researchers nearly a century after his death. No doubt there are some as yet undiscovered interviews with Mark Twain, but this edition contains all interviews with him that are known to date.

For purposes of this project, I have drawn the following parameters: I omit self-interviews, or humorous sketches written entirely by Mark Twain in the interview form; interviews the author repudiated as grossly inaccurate or imaginary; interviews judged by scholars to be spurious; purported interviews that contain no direct quotation; purported interviews that quote Twain's lectures or other writings as if in answer to questions; and memoirs that ostensibly quote Twain months or even years after the fact. (The one exception to this latter rule: interview 123, based on notes taken during the interview but not published until nearly four years later.) I have also chosen to omit interviews that exist only in versions translated from English for the simple reason that there is no way to verify the accuracy of the translation or, in some cases, its retranslation back into English. As M. Thomas Inge notes in the introduction to such an interview, “the reader should bear in mind that what is provided here is a translation from the Russian of translations from the German of alleged interviews presumably conducted in English. The accuracy of the quotations, therefore, is problematic.” I list all known translated interviews in the appendix.

Surprisingly, only a fourth of the interviews in this edition have ever been . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.