The great writer’s irascible wit shines in this comprehensive collection.
This volume is an annotated and indexed scholarly edition of every known interview with Mark Twain spanning his entire career. In these interviews, Twain discusses such topical issues as his lecture style, his writings, and his bankruptcy, while holding forth on such timeless issues as human nature, politics, war and peace, government corruption, humor, race relations, imperialism, international copyright, the elite, and his impressions of other writers (Howells, Gorky, George Bernard Shaw, Tennyson, Longfellow, Kipling, Hawthorne, Dickens, Bret Harte, among others).
These interviews are both oral performances in their own right and a new basis for evaluating contemporary responses to Twain’s writings. Some of the parameters Gary Scharnhorst has followed in assembling the collection is to omit self-interviews, humorous sketches written by Twain in interview form, interviews judged by Twain scholars to be spurious, purported interviews that contain no direct quotations, and interviews that exist only in versions translated from the English, as there is no way to verify the accuracy of their retranslations back into English. Because the interviews are records of verbal conversations rather than texts written in Twain’s hand, Scharnhorst has corrected errors in spelling and regularized punctuation. Four interviews here are new to scholarship; fewer than a fifth have ever been reprinted.
Because Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews makes accessible, in one volume, source documents of immeasurable value to understanding one of America’s most consequential writers, it will be valued by both academic and public libraries, Twain scholars and enthusiasts, and general readers of humor.