Final volume of Mark Twain’s autobiography now on shelves

The third and final volume of the autobiography of legendary American author and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens — best known by his pen name Mark Twain — has been published by UC Press, courtesy of editors at the Mark Twain Papers and Project at UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library.

Robert Hirst, the general editor of the Mark Twain Papers, says the Bancroft Library has an original or a copy of virtually everything that Mark Twain wrote. “This means that if you want to study Mark Twain or research any aspect of him, this is the place to be.”

When Mark Twain died in 1910, he specifically instructed that his autobiography not be released for 100 years after his death, and some portions he wanted withheld for 500 years. “That way, he knew he could speak his whole frank mind and not be concerned about the consequences,” says Harriet Elinor Smith, editor of the Autobiography of Mark Twain.

His thoughts on Christianity were particularly scathing, views that he thought weren’t appropriate for a contemporary audience and would damage the reputation of his family. “He felt it was bloody, merciless, money-grubbing, hypocritical and hollow,” says Smith.

To learn more about the third volume and the making of the autobiography, visit UC Press’s blog.

To read more about the book, go to Berkeley News.