Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals - Vol. 1

Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals - Vol. 1

Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals - Vol. 1

Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals - Vol. 1

Synopsis

In the summer of 1855, when the nineteen-year-old Sam Clements traveled from Saint Louis to Hannibal, Paris, and Florida, Missouri, and then to Keokuk, Iowa, he carried with him a notebook in which he entered French lessons, phrenological information, miscellaneous observations, and reminders about errands to be performed. This first notebook thus took the random form which would characterize most of those to follow. About the text: In order to avoid editorial misrepresentation and to preserve the texture of autograph documents, the entries are presented in their original, often unfinished, form with most of Clemens' irregularities, inconsistencies, errors, and cancellations unchanged. Clemens' cancellations are included in the text enclosed in angle brackets, thus ; editorially-supplied conjectural readings are in square brackets, thus [word]; hyphens within square brackets stand for unreadable letters, thus [--]; and editorial remarks are italicized and enclosed in square brackets, thus [blank page}}- A slash separates alternative readings which Clemens left unresolved, thus word/word. The separation of entries is indicated on the printed page by extra space between lines; when the end of a manuscript entry coincides with the end of a page of the printed text, the symbol [#] follows the entry. A full discussion of textual procedures accompanies the tables of emendation and details of inscription in the Textual Apparatus at the end of each volume; specific textual problems are explained in headnotes or footnotes when unusual situations warrant.

Excerpt

For twenty-five years after Samuel Clemens’ death his designated biographer and editor, Albert Bigelow Paine, collected and edited his letters, his hitherto unpublished literary works, his Autobiographical Dictations, and finally, in 1935, a volume called Mark Twain’s Notebook. in the Notebook Paine presented less than onequarter of Clemens’ journal entries, randomly selected and reordered to suit the editor’s preferences. Now, on the occasion of the full publication of the complex documents from which Paine drew his earlier version, it seems appropriate to evaluate Paine’s editorial labors against current standards of textual scholarship.

As Mark Twain’s biographer, Paine was industrious, comprehensive, and, by the test of sixty years, surprisingly fair. Despite the absence of citations to sources for his information, despite his disregard for the dates of events, and even in spite of his preoccupation with the social figure rather than the creative man, Paine’s biography is still the Mark Twain scholar’s central reference. Those who followed him have in many instances corrected errors and introduced new evidence, but they have not substantially altered Paine’s portrait. As Mark Twain’s biographer, Paine served his subject, his readers, and subsequent generations very well in most respects.

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