"Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain" by Justin Kaplan is about 30 years old, but
it's wise, insightful, beautifully written and generally unexcelled (though
many folks will say otherwise); I expect many will recommend it, as do I.

But Twain is such a multifaceted character that you might do better to think
in terms of a small shelf of books that sort of add up to a "definitive"
work, in which case I would suggest:

"Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain" (Kaplan)

"The Autobiography of Mark Twain" (the Charles Nieder edition)

"Mark Twain Himself, A Pictorial Biography" (Milton Meltzer)

"Mark Twain and His World" (another pictorial treatment, this one by Justin
Kaplan; an alternative to the hard-to-find Meltzer book)

Ron Powers, "Dangerous Water" (the early years)

Jeffrey Steinbrink, "Getting to Be Mark Twain" (early manhood)

Hamlin Hill, "God's Fool" (old age)

Everett Emerson, "Mark Twain: A Literary Life" (wonderful treatment that
uses much recent scholarship & ties a lot a lot of loose ends together)

I think you'd find this group covers most of the important stuff -- and they
would also make a very enjoyable read.

-- Peter Salwen

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Twain Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Lloyd J
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2001 10:41 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Biographer

Would someone please suggest a definitive biography dealing with Mr. Clemens
life history?

L. Grant.