Mark Twain's Letters (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
This work is the initial volume of Mark Twain’s letters but the eighteenth volume in the comprehensive and scholarly edition of Twain’s works and papers which the University of California Press has been systematically publishing since 1967. This first volume contains every known letter that Twain wrote from the ages of seventeen to thirty-one, and half the letters here have never been published before. The Berkeley Twain Project is a vast and ambitious one, and the letters alone will take many more volumes, for Twain wrote more than ten thousand letters in his seventy-five years (two-thirds never before published), and only about 125 appear here.
Less than half of the volume contains Twain’s letters; the rest is the scholarly apparatus necessary in such an exhaustive undertaking: a long introductory “Guide to Editorial Practice,” pages of notes to the letters, maps, facsimiles of actual letters, photographs and a genealogical chart of the Clemens family, textual commentaries, and even a “Steamboat Calendar” of Twain’s piloting assignments on the Mississippi River in the late 1850’s. Many of these early letters are missing sections, some rather substantial. Periods of months or even years pass where there are no letters extant; the editors provide useful sketches of what Twain was doing during these silent years.
(The entire section is 1896 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
Booklist. LXXXIV, May 15, 1988, p. 1567.
Chicago Tribune. March 27, 1988, XIV, p. 1.
Library Journal. CXII, April 15, 1987, p. 85.
National Review. XL, July 22, 1988, p. 47.
The New York Times. July 13, 1987, p. C13.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXIII, April 15, 1988, p. 66.
Time. CXXXI, June 6, 1988, p. 87.
(The entire section is 35 words.)