Many thanks to Sharon, Barbara and Vic for replying to my question
about which "electronic" versions of Twain's books might be suitable
for computer-based text analysis. The consensus so far seems to be
the the Gutenberg versions may not be academically reliable. There
may be, according to Vic, some 1st edition electronic transcriptions
and I will look into this. Perhaps someone on the list knows where
they might be?
Of course if I set out to transcribe from my own 1st editions (at
least very early printings) I still have the same dilemma, namely
accuracy and reliability. Ultimately it may come to choosing between
the lessor of the evils. Vic points out that he found some of the
Gutenberg files to be transcribed from the 4th American version and
are thus less than desirable.
My inquiry is primarily of a content analysis nature. So crossed t's
and dotted I's, and proper illustrations and so on, the kinds of
things that people look to for early 1st additions, are not that
important, especially when looking across several thousand pages
(three books) of content for trends in what is being said. I took
Barbara's suggestion and contacted Dr. Hirst at the Mark Twain Papers
in Berkeley to see what plans they may have to bring early editions
online. But in the absence of something ideal I may have to fall back
on what is available and acknowledge this in the study.