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Hannibal & Mark Twain
Autobiography of Mark Twain. Volume 1
Harriet Elinor Smith, editor ; associate editors: Benjamin Griffin, Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, Sharon K. Goetz, Leslie Myrick.
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2010.
"I've struck it!" Mark Twain wrote in a 1904 letter to a friend. "And I will give it away--to you. You will never know how much enjoyment you have lost until you get to dictating your autobiography." Thus, after dozens of false starts and hundreds of pages, Twain embarked on his "Final (and Right) Plan" for telling the story of his life. His innovative notion--to "talk only about the thing which interests you for the moment"--meant that his thoughts could range freely. The strict instruction that many of these texts remain unpublished for 100 years meant that when they came out, he would be "dead, and unaware, and indifferent," and that he was therefore free to speak his "whole frank mind." The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Twain's death. In celebration of this important milestone and in honor of the cherished tradition of publishing Mark Twain's works, UC Press is proud to offer for the first time Mark Twain's uncensored autobiography in its entirety and exactly as he left it. This major literary event brings to readers, admirers, and scholars the first of three volumes and presents Mark Twain's authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave as he intended.
     
Twain's feast : searching for America's lost foods in the footsteps of Samuel Clemens
Andrew Beahrs.
New York : Penguin Press, 2010.
One young food writer searches for America's lost wild foods, from New Orleans croakers to Illinois prairie hen, and employs Mark Twain as his guide.
     
The adventures of Tom Sawyer and the undead
Mark Twain and Don Borchert.
New York, NY : Tor, 2010.
Taking Twain's original coming-of-age classic, Borchert has infused it with ataste of the macabre, as the world has been overrun by a Zombie epidemic, andthe South has been dubbed Zum. Illustrations.
     

Twain's Birthplace

Mark Twain's boyhood home was Hannibal, but he was born in the tiny village of Florida, Missouri. According to Twain, it contained only 100 people when he was born, prompting his witty boast that he "increased the population by 1 per cent.  It is more than many of the best men in history could have done for a town." 

Today, the hamlet is, appropriately enough, on Mark Twain Lake near Mark Twain State Park. Perhaps even Twain could not have imagined how influential he was on the fate of his birthplace!

Fiction is often thought of as the opposite of fact.  But by using his imagination, Mark Twain's life experiences formed his fiction. 

The people Twain knew as a boy in Hannibal, Missouri served as models for many characters in his novels. Several were integrated into "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "Huck Finn".  The character of Huck Finn was based on a boy Twain grew up with named Tom Blankenship.  Tom Sawyer was a composite of Twain himself and another childhood friend, Will Bowen.  Twain's father, John Clemens, was the model for Judge Thatcher, Becky's father in "Tom Sawyer".  Twain's mother, Jane Clemens, can be seen in the character of Aunt Polly.

Nor were these books the only places that his parents appear in his writing.  They're both in his "Villagers of 1840-3", where little but their names were changed (they appear as Judge & Joanna Carpenter).  Though written as fiction, it is a very accurate account of their real-life courtship and experiences in Missouri.  His father also appears as Squire (later, "Judge") Hawkins in "The Gilded Age" and York Driscoll in "Pudd'nhead Wilson".

Twain himself talked about the importance of a writer using his/ her life experiences:  "Experience is an author's most valuable asset; experience is the thing that puts the muscle and the breath and the warm blood into the book he writes."  Fictionalizing his experiences as a boy in Hannibal helped Twain to become one of the greatest of American writers.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff