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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Laura Cerruti <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 21 Apr 2009 15:47:03 -0700
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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April 21, 2009
For Immediate Release
Laura Cerruti
University of California Press, [log in to unmask]

Landmark Publication of Mark Twain's Autobiography

University of California Press and The Mark Twain Project to
Celebrate Mark Twain Centennial Year with Publication of Mark Twain's
Life in His Own Words

BERKELEY, Calif. - April 21, 2009 - University of California Press
and The Mark Twain Project are pleased to announce the landmark
publication of Mark Twain's Autobiography. The book and companion
website will be available in 2010 to coincide with the centennial
year of Mark Twain's death.

The autobiography will be the flagship publication in a year-long
tribute to America's most beloved author. Over the centennial year,
UC Press and The Mark Twain Project plan a series of Mark Twain
o This fall 2009, UC Press will publish Mark Twain's Book of
Animals, edited by Shelley Fisher Fishkin, with authoritative texts
established by The Mark Twain Project. The beautiful volume,
illustrated with 30 new images by master engraver Barry Moser, will
gather writings from the full span of Mark Twain's career to
illuminate his special attachment to and regard for animals.
o In spring 2010, UC Press will issue new editions of Twain's
best known novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn, that will feature some of the extraordinary
materials related to the novels: original publishing contracts, Mark
Twain's handwritten letters to his family, and programs from early
book tours.
o UC Press and The Mark Twain Project will release new material
on Mark Twain Project Online ( The
site, which provides access to more than 2,300 letters and documents,
will feature new texts and functionality later this spring when the
texts of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer
among the Indians are released.
o The first of three volumes of Mark Twain's Autobiography will
appear in trade print editions in fall of 2010, and will also be
available on Mark Twain Project Online documented with full scholarly

"We are very proud of our longstanding and important publishing
partnership with The Mark Twain Papers and Project. We're especially
excited to make Mark Twain's Autobiography--a landmark publication in
American letters--available to audiences worldwide," notes UC Press
Director Lynne Withey.

Although portions of Mark Twain's autobiography have been published,
less than half of it has ever appeared in print much less in the way
he intended. In the complete and authoritative edition, readers will
find Mark Twain musing about his Missouri childhood, lamenting an
embarrassing speech at the birthday dinner for John Greenleaf
Whittier, and describing the villa near Florence that his family
rented in 1904. Although many thought it was not possible, the
editors of The Mark Twain Project are establishing a lucid text that
is both fascinating to read and that remains true to the author's
original idiosyncratic intent. These editors are, in fact, the first
to have actually understood exactly how Mark Twain wanted his text to
appear and what it should contain

Bob Hirst, General Editor of the Mark Twain Papers & Project
describes the effort that has gone into publication of Mark Twain's
last masterpiece: "It was a daunting task simply to figure out which
of the 2500 pages of manuscript belong in the final form and which do
not, or even that there was a final form designed by the author.
Those pages have been in the Mark Twain Papers since 1910, but have
never been fully understood by any of their successive editors. We
are fortunate that Mark Twain Project editors with nearly 40 years of
experience were able to work on and solve this problem. The result is
that no one, until now, has ever read or could read the Autobiography
of Mark Twain. We are confident it will be an exhilarating experience
for all Mark Twain's fans."

Mark Twain died on April 21, 1910. He wrote many autobiographical
pieces during his lifetime, but in 1906, he began the ambitious
project of systematically recording his life for posterity. This
project took up the remaining four years of his life. He always
intended to speak from the grave; in fact, he included strict
instructions for many of the pieces to appear no sooner than 100
years after his death.  He writes: "To the Unborn Reader, In your
day, a hundred years hence, this manuscript will have a distinct
value; & not a small value but a large one. If it can be preserved
ten centuries it will have a still larger value- a value augmented
tenfold, in fact. For it will furnish an intimate inside view of our
domestic life of to-day not to be found in naked & comprehensive
detail outside of its pages."

The great writer's prescient words have come true. Fascination with
Mark Twain has not waned, and his autobiography stands to be one of
the most anticipated and important publications of the twenty-first

The Mark Twain Papers is housed in The Bancroft Library at the
University of California at Berkeley. The papers comprise not only
the world's largest collection of Mark Twain's manuscripts but also
letters from his family and friends, facsimiles of manuscripts in
other collections, photographs, first and early editions, scholarly
works on his life and times, and ephemera. The Mark Twain Project is
dedicated to the identification, verification, collection,
preservation, understanding, and dissemination of the works of Mark
Twain. Since 1962, the editors have been restoring Mark Twain's
original texts, collecting and annotating them for comprehensive
editions of all of his private papers and published works. The
result: an ever-increasing set of meticulously researched,
award-winning critical editions of Mark Twain's works and papers, all
published by University of California Press. University of California
Press (, one of the most distinguished
university presses in the United States, enriches lives around the
world by advancing scholarship in the humanities, social sciences,
and natural sciences. Its activities are supported by the UC Press
Foundation and by philanthropic contributions from individuals and

Laura Cerruti
Director of Digital Content Development
University of California Press