With the 100 year anniversary of the death of Mark Twain coming up on April 10, look for armloads of books to be published or republished with a Twainish theme between now and then. A couple of good ones recently became available from The Library of America.
The Mark Twain Anthology collects the work of great writers on the topic of Twain. “Several of Mark Twain’s books are bound to survive,” George Orwell opined, “because they contain invaluable social history.”
“Mark Twain put his voice on paper,” Ursula K. Le Guin said with typical elegance, “with a fidelity and vitality that makes electronic recordings seem crude and quaint.”
The book collects the words of many skilled and famed wordsmiths: Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw, Helen Keller, T.S. Eliot, Ralph Ellison, Norman Mailer, Erica Jong, Gore Vidal, Toni Morrison, Barack Obama and many others all under one cover and collected on this single topic by acclaimed Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin.
Also out this month from The Library of America, Mark Twain: A Tramp Abroad, Following the Equator, Other Travel. The book collects some of Twain’s best loved travel writing, including A Tramp Abroad from 1880, an account of 16-months of travels in Europe with his family and includes the author’s own sketches. The work also restores passages originally deemed too provocative for contemporary audiences by Twain’s publisher and his wife. Edited by Roy Blount. Jr., the book collects some of the master travel writer’s very best work.