Scholarly Editing: e Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing

Benjamin Griffin, Harriet Elinor
2015 unpublished
776 pp. $45. ISBN 978-00520-27275-1. With two of three projected volumes now in print, the University of California Press edition of Mark Twain's autobiography has been a publishing phenomenon with few parallels in the world of scholarly editing. Although the first volume contains little material not already published, it shot to New York Times bestseller status in 2010, remained there half a year, and ended up selling more than a half million copies. at is an astounding figure for any volume
more » ... f edited documents and is even more impressive when one considers that an online version of its text has been available for free since the book came out. e impressive sales of the first volume doubtless had much to do with public fascination with Mark Twain, arguably the most revered and widely read of nineteenth-century American writers. Many readers apparently expected the volume to be filled with shocking material that had been long suppressed. at was a mistaken assumption that had grown out of the story that Mark Twain did not want his autobiography published until a century after his death. e story was basically true, but his wish was not honored. Many things connected with Samuel L. Clemens-better known to the world as Mark Twain-are complicated and full of surprises, and that is certainly true of his autobiography. To begin with, what he called his "autobiography" is not what most people mean by that term-namely an introspective history of one's life related in chronological order. Clemens consciously rejected that approach in favor of a discursive collection of reminiscences of events and acquaintances from his past, arranged in order of the moments when he recorded them. Moreover, he