The Autobiography of Mark Twain Form and Content

Mark Twain

Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In The Autobiography of Mark Twain, the famous American author Twain presents young readers with biographical information about his life, insight into how an author thinks and writes, and a description of a young and optimistic United States. The book uses anecdotic forms of recollections to document Twain’s life and shows the influence of a developing nation on this author as well as his influence on the nation. Editor Charles Neider’s 1959 revised edition of Twain’s autobiography contains seventy-nine chapters written by Twain during his earlier years and dictated during his later years. Although the first part of the book begins with his birth and the last tells of the end of his life, The Autobiography of Mark Twain presents events as Twain recollects them, rather than in a chronological format.

While Twain primarily focuses on his own life, he also deals with the lives of friends and relatives as he shows how they affected him and his work. In the preface and in several other places, Twain reminds readers that by speaking “from the grave” he is allowed to write freely when describing the private moments of his life. Twain, claiming his work to be free and frank, tells young readers about his friendships with famous American figures such as Ulysses S. Grant, Bret Harte, and William Dean Howells. Likewise, he discusses the members of his family: his mother and father, brother, wife and children, and even a nephew with whom...

(The entire section is 487 words.)