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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 29 Oct 2010 13:12:25 -0700
Benjamin Griffin <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (43 lines)
Kevin Mac Donnell speaks of a “decision to exclude” Michael Kiskis’s 1990
edition from the MTP edition, and has invited an explanation.

The first thing to say is that Prof. Kiskis’s two editions are *not* in
fact “absent” from our edition: we cite the Introduction to his edition
alongside the notable studies of Cox (1966), Krauth (1999) and Robinson
(2007). And both of his editions are in the References list (SLC 1990; SLC

Now, in our Introduction and in the appendix “Previous Publication,” we
deal only with editions that presented previously unpublished material.
That narrows the list to: NAR (1906-7) (which, as Steve Hoffman notes, we
treat as the first edition); Paine (1924); DeVoto (1940); and Neider
(1959). Had we tried, in that appendix, to track the republications of
previously published material, the list would have become unmanageable.
Surely it’s unnecessary to note that whatever appeared in NAR perforce
appears in SLC 1990 and SLC 1996?

Please note that our edition makes no claim to trace the history of
republication as such. The subject of the Introduction is the genesis of
the text. The NAR chapters are treated there only because the writing of
the Autobiography proper is inseparable from the creation of the NAR
chapters. The later publications of Paine, DeVoto, and Neider are
discussed only insofar as their inadequacies are part of the reason for
the present edition.

Likewise, the References list is *not* a checklist of work on the
Autobiography.  It only gives information about works we needed to cite in
explaining the text. Consequently, many great names are absent from that
list—by design.

We have made no attempt to discuss the reception of the Autobiography
beyond Clemens’s death, no attempt to track its critical reception and
cultural impact. They're not within our scope; but if they should be
within yours, can your work be anything but enhanced by the availability,
for the first time, of the complete text, critically edited and annotated?

Benjamin Griffin
Mark Twain Project
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley