Mark Twain Tops Bestseller Lists a Century After His Death

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Earlier this year, 5,000 pages of Mark Twain‘s memoirs were unsealed, honoring the author’s wish that they be withheld for 100 years after his death. (Twain died on April 21, 1910.) UC Berkeley has officially set the date of publication for Twain’s autobiography for November 15, and judging by online preorders, interest in his work is still high: Autobiography of Mark Twain is moving back and forth between the #1 and #2 spots on Amazon.com’s site-wide bestseller list, and it’s currently the #3 book on BarnesandNoble.com, all on the strength of early sales. (You can order the book on the Kindle right now for $9.99) Apparently, rumors of the death of the American reading public have been greatly exaggerated.

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CS Monitor:

Why the delay? “Mark Twain had a very tender heart,” Robert Hirst, curator of the Mark Twain Papers at UC Berkeley, told “CBS Sunday Morning.” “He liked to say nasty things – he’s really good at it – but he didn’t like the idea of being there when the person heard them, and was hurt by them!”

Also, said Hirst, the century-long embargo freed Twain “to say exactly what he [thought], and so in a way he doesn’t have anyone looking over his shoulder.”

The final two volumes will be available within the next five years, according to UC Press, and the entirety of Twain’s collected memoirs will eventually be available online.

(CS MonitorEW via Fark)


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