Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?
— Mark Twain, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
When Mark Train died in 1910, he left the manuscript of his memoirs, some 5000 pages, together with instructions that they should not be published until 100 years had passed. The UK newspaper The Independent reports that, since that milestone has now been passed, the University of California, Berkeley, will publish the first volume (there are expected to be three) of Twain’s memoirs in November of this year.
Scholars are divided as to why Twain wanted the first-hand account of his life kept under wraps for so long. Some believe it was because he wanted to talk freely about issues such as religion and politics. Others argue that the time lag prevented him from having to worry about offending friends.
The manuscript has been in the custody of the University, and has been accessible to some scholars. Bits and pieces of it have been quoted in books and articles on Twain, but this will be the first time the entire text will see the light of day.
I am looking forward to seeing this when it’s available.