A History of and Guide to
UNIFORM EDITIONS OF MARK TWAIN'S WORKS
I conceived of the plan for the Oxford Mark Twain: facsimiles of the
first American editions with introductions by contemporary writers, afterwords
by Twain scholars, essays on the illustrations, and a note on the text in
brochure for the Oxford Mark Twain courtesy of Kevin Bochynski
- editor Shelley Fisher Fishkin, 2012
The Oxford Mark Twain (1996, 2009)
|Not since Helen
Rosen Woodward developed Harper's 1916 advertising campaign for a
uniform edition of Mark Twain's works has a publishing effort owed so
much to the creativity of women. Shelley Fisher Fishkin, editor of the
Oxford Mark Twain edition, recalls that in the spring of 1992 Laura Brown,
vice president of Oxford University Press, invited her to propose a plan
for a uniform edition of Mark Twain's works. Brown told Fishkin that if
Oxford liked her proposal, she would be working with senior editor Elizabeth
Maguire (b. 1958 - d. 2006). Fishkin, who had obtained her Ph.D. from
Yale, was a professor at the University of Texas and had already published
her first book From Fact to Fiction: Journalism and Imaginative Writing
in America (1985). In addition, her research on Mark Twain was gaining
international recognition. At the time Fishkin was recruited to spearhead
the Oxford Mark Twain edition, Fishkin was quickly becoming one of America's
leading authorities in Mark Twain studies. Her second book Was Huck
Black? Mark Twain and African-American Voices would be released by
Oxford University Press in 1993.
Fisher Fishkin, editor Oxford Mark Twain, from the jacket photo of
Was Huck Black? (1993)
Fishkin wanted to publish an edition of Mark Twain's works that
would complement the authoritative edition that was and is still ongoing from
the Mark Twain Project at the University of California at Berkeley.
I had long been intrigued by the first American editions of Twain's works,
in part because Twain himself had played a role in their publication, and
also because these were the volumes to which the earliest reviewers were
responding, and on which Twain's early reputation was built. I was also
fascinated by the illustrations, and by how relatively unfamiliar so many
of them were to modern readers (Fishkin, 2012).
It had been over thirty years since the Modern Language Association in 1963
had expressed their concerns that the future studies of American literature
was at risk because access to original manuscripts was frequently restricted
and rare editions published during an author's lifetime were extremely difficult
to locate. By 1992, only seven titles of Mark Twain's works featuring authoritative
texts and original illustrations had been issued by the Mark Twain Project.
First editions of many works were rare and in poor condition when they could
be found. Fishkin had first hand experience as a Mark Twain scholar and researcher
who had encountered difficulties finding scarce first editions. She had been
forced to scour used books sales seeking out discarded and damaged volumes and
treasuring them when they could be found.
Fishkin conceived of a plan for Oxford to publish facsimiles of the first editions
of Mark Twain's works. She recalled reading Norman Mailer's "Huckleberry
Finn, Alive at 100" which appeared in the New York Times book review
section on December 9, 1984.
[Mailer] discussed the book as if it had just appeared on the scene. It was
beautifully anachronistic but truly inspired. It gave me a taste of what could
happen if contemporary writers engaged Twain freshly in terms that mattered
to them. I also decided that it would be important to have Twain scholars
contextualize the works in the set, giving a sense of their publication history,
the response to them when they appeared and over time, and provide suggestions
for further reading. And, finally, I recognized that essays on the illustrations
would be extremely important to include, as well as brief notes on the physical
text used for the facsimile (Fishkin, 2012).
Oxford University Press was delighted with Fishkin's proposal. The set would
be the first uniform edition of Mark Twain's works since the 1922 Gabriel
Wells Definitive Edition that would feature introductions and commentary
by some of the most prominent authors of their time. In order to determine the
authors who would be invited to contribute to the Oxford Mark Twain, Fishkin
describes her efforts:
I immersed myself in more books by contemporary writers than I had ever read,
seeking out resonances and points of connection with Twain. I saw this aspect
of the project as creating a new body of commentary on Twain by contemporary
writers that would dramatize his continuing impact on literature and the vitality
of the ongoing cultural conversation in which his works played and continued
to play a central role. I made a special effort to go beyond "the usual
suspects," engaging writers who had never written about Twain before,
but whose work resonated with his in some key ways (Fishkin, 2012).
Fishkin's vision for the contents of each volume in the Oxford Mark Twain uniform
- a frontispiece of Mark Twain at the time he wrote a specific work
- an Editor's Note and Foreword by Fishkin
- an Introduction by a prominent author
- a photographic facsimile including the book's cover of the first edition
- an Afterword and a section recommending further reading written by a prominent
Mark Twain scholar
- discussions of the artwork and illustrations to be written by Beverly R.
David (b. 1927), a prominent authority on Mark Twain's illustrators, in conjunction
with Ray Sapirstein (b. 1964), a doctoral student from the University of Texas
who was the sole contributor for illustrations for six volumes in the set
- notes by Robert H. Hirst (b. 1941), General Editor of the Mark Twain Project,
identifying the specific first edition printing used for the facsimile
- a page devoted to the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut which provided
a number of first editions from their collection as the photographic sources
- notes identifying the contributors for each volume
- a section of acknowledgments identifying the men and women involved in the
overall production of the edition
Oxford originally planned an edition of 25 volumes. However, due to Fishkin's
enthusiasm for the effort, the project grew to include 29 volumes. According
to Fishkin, "I do know that when we hit 29 volumes Oxford said, in effect,
this is it: no more" (Fishkin, 2013).
For the next several years Fishkin devoted herself to the enormously time-consuming
details and logistics of putting together the Oxford Mark Twain including locating
first edition copies suitable for photographic reproduction. The Mark Twain
House museum and research center in Hartford, Connecticut provided many of the
first American editions that were used. Oxford also contracted with Fishkin
to write a book on Twain's place in American culture that could be released
at about the same time as the uniform edition. That book would be titled Lighting
Out for the Territory: Reflections on Mark Twain and American Culture and
was issued in 1997. In order to fulfill her commitments to Oxford, Fishkin took
a leave without pay from teaching at the University of Texas for one semester.
Marketing Strategies and Reviews
Twain binding in maroon cloth and boards and dust jacket
The Oxford Mark Twain was released in the fall of 1996. Oxford's
introductory price for the trade set with maroon cloth spines and boards binding
and dust jackets was $295; a special library edition in total maroon cloth binding
was priced at $395. The 29 books which make up the set feature no volume numbers.
Dust jackets are not identical and feature different colors and illustrations,
most from the original texts, on the front cover. Oxford also offered a limited
number of autographed sets with volumes signed by the contributors. This special
autographed edition, limited to 300 sets, was offered at $1,500. Oxford recognized
the fact that a wider customer base could likely be found if buyers were allowed
to purchase one or two titles of the edition rather than an entire set. Individual
volumes were offered in prices ranging from $15 to $25 each.
Reviewers were lavish in their praise for the edition. In a preliminary
assessment for the Mark Twain Forum on January 20, 1997, Kent Rasmussen wrote:
Most of the book titles in the OMT have never been available before in facsimile
editions (including, amazingly, the lavishly illustrated A Tramp Abroad
and Life on the Mississippi); some of these books have not been available
in any edition for over a century (e.g., The Celebrated Jumping
Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches). Collectors should also be
aware that the first editions of story and essay collections (such as Sketches
New and Old) that share titles with later Harper uniform editions, do
not have exactly the same contents as the later editions. In some cases the
differences are substantial.
In June 1997, Max Saunders writing in the Literary Review stated:
The twenty-nine-volume Oxford Mark Twain is a major literary event. In addition
to gathering together a superb collection of Twain's works, editor Shelley
Fisher Fishkin has commissioned some of our most eminent living writers to
introduce each volume with their personal insights and experiences of Twain.
... In effect, the set gathers together a literary who's who, all of whom
reflect on what Mark Twain's work means to them as writers and scholars, and
what he means to our literary history and to our culture as a whole. Taken
together, these introductions and afterwords provide a major reevaluation
of Twain, allowing readers to see his work in fresh ways.
In November 2009 Oxford released a paperback edition of the set at an introductory
price of $199.
for the 2009 Oxford Mark Twain paperback edition
Volumes and Contributors
The Oxford Mark Twain set features no volume numbers. The 29
volumes are listed below in the approximate chronological order they were
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and
Other Sketches. This volume is a photographic facsimile of the 1867
first edition, second printing. The first edition volume is extremely rare
-- only 4,076 copies were printed before Mark Twain destroyed the printing
plates. The introduction was written by Roy Blount, Jr. (b. 1941) who is
best known as a humor writer. At the time Blount wrote the introduction,
he was a contributing editor to Atlantic Monthly and an author of
a dozen books. The afterword was written by Richard E. Bucci who had worked
as an editor at the Mark Twain Project for fourteen years.
- The Innocents Abroad. This volume is a photographic facsimile
of the 1869 first American edition, third issue. The introduction was written
by Mordecai Richler (b. 1931 - d. 2001), a Canadian novelist with a reputation
for acerbic social commentary. The afterword was written by David E. E. Sloane
(b. 1943), professor of English at the University of New Haven in Connecticut.
Sloane was a past president of the Mark Twain Circle as well as the American
Humor Studies Association. Sloane's previous publications included Mark
Twain as a Literary Comedian (1979), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:
American Comic Vision (1987), Mark Twain's Humor: Critical Essays
- Roughing It. This volume is a photographic facsimile of an
1872 American edition, no earlier than the fourth printing from the first
edition plates and bound by the end of December 1872. The introduction was
written by George Plimpton (b. 1927 - d. 2003). Plimpton was a prolific writer,
editor and television host. When he died in September 2003, his obituary in
the New York Times described him as a "participatory journalist"
and an aristocrat "whose exploits in editing and writing seesawed between
belles lettres and the witty accounts he wrote of his various madcap
attempts to slip into other people's high-profile careers." The afterword
was written by Henry Brunie Wonham (b. 1960), an assistant professor at the
University of Oregon and author of Mark Twain and the Art of the Tall Tale
- The Gilded Age. This volume is a photographic facsimile of
an early 1873 American edition, although it is not the earliest printing.
The text does retain the name of the character "Eschol" Sellers
which was changed to "Beriah" Sellers in early 1874 in order to
placate a man by the same name of Eschol Sellers. The introduction was written
by Ward Just (b. 1935), a former reporter for Newsweek magazine and
the Washington Post. Just was the author of ten novels at the time,
many of them focusing on national politics. The afterword was written by Gregg
Camfield (b. 1958), an assistant professor of English at the University of
the Pacific in Stockton, California. Camfield's previous work included Sentimental
Twain: Samuel Clemens in the Maze of Moral Philosophy. In 2003 Oxford
published Camfield's The Oxford Companion to Mark Twain.
- Sketches New and Old. This volume is a photographic facsimile
of an 1875 first American edition, second state. It does not feature the sketch
"Hospital Days" which was mistakenly included in the earliest printings.
The introduction was written by Lee Smith (b. 1944), a professor of English
at North Carolina State University. Smith was the author of numerous books
numerous books, including the novel Oral History (1983), and the recipient
of a number of literary awards. The afterword was written by Sherwood Preston
Cummings (b. 1916 - d. 2005). Cummings was professor emeritus of English at
California State University at Fullerton. His previous publications included
Mark Twain and Science: Adventures of a Mind (1988).
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This volume is a photographic
facsimile of an 1876 first American edition, first printing. The introduction
was written by E. L. (Edgar Lawrence) Doctorow who was professor of English
and American Letters at New York University and the award winning author of
ten books including Welcome to Hard Times (1960), Ragtime (1975),
and Billy Bathgate (1989). The afterword was written by Albert E. Stone
(b. 1924 - d. 2012), professor emeritus of American Studies and English at
the University of Iowa. Stone was the author of The Innocent Eye: Childhood
in Mark Twain's Imagination (1961).
- A Tramp Abroad. This volume is a photographic facsimile of
an 1880 first American edition, although not the earliest printing. The caption
on the frontispiece reads "Titian's Moses" rather than the earliest
version of "Moses." The introduction was written by Russell Banks
(b. 1940) who was the author of twelve works of fiction at the time and a
professor at Princeton University. Banks was married to the great granddaughter
of Reverend Joseph Twichell, Mark Twain's close friend and traveling companion.
Twichell figures prominently in A Tramp Abroad as the character Harris.
The afterword was written by James S. Leonard (b. 1947), professor of English
at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Leonard co-edited Satire
or Evasion? Black Perspectives on Huckleberry Finn (1992) and also served
as editor of the Mark Twain Circular.
- The Prince and the Pauper. This volume is a photographic facsimile
of an 1882 first American edition, second state. It contains three corrections
of errors that occurred in the first printing. The introduction to this book,
in which an etiquette manual plays a key role, was written by author and journalist
Judith Martin, also known for her syndicated newspaper column Miss Manners.
The afterword was written by Everett Harvey Emerson (b. 1925 - d. 2002) who
had taught most of his professional career at the University of Massachusetts
at Amherst. Emerson, a co-founder of the Mark Twain Circle of America, was
the author of The Authentic Mark Twain: A Literary Biography of Samuel
L. Clemens (1984).
- Life on the Mississippi. This volume is a photographic facsimile
of an 1883 first American edition, second state -- with one exception. One
illustration used as a tailpiece showing Mark Twain's head in flames has been
reinstated from an earlier impression. The illustration had been removed from
later printings when Mark Twain's wife Livy Clemens objected to it. This volume
also features a revised caption for an illustration of "The St. Charles
Hotel" which earliest states of the book captioned "The St. Louis
Hotel." With these features, this Oxford edition represents a printing
not previously available. The introduction was written by Willie Morris (b.
1934 - d. 1999), a former editor, author, and Mississippi native. When Morris
died unexpectedly in 1999, obituaries praised him as a "pure product
of southern soil" and a writer whose "work reveled in the endless
contradictions of the South and the region's ghostlike hold on its native
sons and daughters." The afterword was written by Laurence Howe (b. 1952),
an assistant professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Howe's own book
Mark Twain and the Novel : The Double-Cross of Authority would be released
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This volume is a photographic
facsimile of an 1885 first American edition, first impression. The introduction
was written by Toni Morrison (b. 1931). Morrison was an editor, novelist and
professor at Princeton University. She had been awarded a Pulitzer Prize in
1988 for her novel Beloved about an African American slave. In 1993
Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The afterword was written
by Victor A. Doyno (b. 1937), professor at State University of New York at
Buffalo. Doyno's previous publications included editing Mark Twain: Selected
Writings of an American Skeptic (1983) and Writing "Huck Finn":
Mark Twain's Creative Process (1992). Doyno also served as president of
the Mark Twain Circle of America from 1994-96.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. This volume
is a photographic facsimile of an 1889 first American edition, early impression,
but perhaps not the earliest. The introduction was written by Kurt Vonnegut,
Jr. (b. 1922 - d. 2007), a prolific American writer whose genres included
satire, dark humor and science fiction. Vonnegut, a great admirer of Mark
Twain, used humor in his own writing to tackle the same questions of basic
human existence that Mark Twain often addressed. According to Fishkin, Vonnegut
was so delighted to contribute to the Oxford Mark Twain edition that he faxed
in his very short introduction to the volume prior to receiving the recommended
guidelines for style and length and then declined to expand on it. "He
had managed to do in 5 pages all that we'd asked him to do in 20" (Fishkin,
2012). The afterword was written by Louis J. Budd (b. 1921 - d. 2010), a founding
president of the Mark Twain Circle of America. Budd was Professor Emeritus
at Duke University and was the author of Mark Twain: Social Philosopher
(1962) and Our Mark Twain: The Making of His Public Personality (1983).
In addition, Budd was editor of two volumes of Mark Twain: Collected Tales,
Sketches, Speeches, and Essays (1992).
- Merry Tales. This volume is a photographic facsimile of the
1892 first American edition. The introduction was written by Anne Bernays
(b. 1930), an author, editor, and writing teacher who had also co-authored
one book with her husband Justin Kaplan. The afterword was written by Forrest
G. Robinson (b. 1940), professor at the University of California at Santa
Cruz. Robinson's previous publications included In Bad Faith: The Dynamics
of Deception in Mark Twain's America (1986) and The Cambridge Companion
to Mark Twain (1995).
- The American Claimant. This volume is a photographic facsimile
of the 1892 first American edition. The introduction was written by Bobbie
Ann Mason (b. 1940), an award-winning novelist and short story writer from
Kentucky. The afterword was written by Peter B. Messent (b. 1946) of the University
of Nottingham in England. Messent's own book on Mark Twain, titled Mark
Twain, was published in 1997. Messent would go on to publish Short
Works of Mark Twain: A Critical Study (2001) and Mark Twain and Male
Friendship (2009). He also co-edited with Steve Courtney The Civil
War letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: A Chaplain's Story (2006).
- The £1,000,000 Bank-Note and Other Stories. This volume
is a photographic facsimile of the 1893 first American edition. The introduction
was written by Malcolm Bradbury (b. 1932 - d. 2000), professor emeritus of
American Studies at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Bradbury
was a prolific writer, novelist and humorist whose most frequent recurring
theme was that of the slightly naive and liberal innocent protagonist. The
afterword was written by James D. Wilson (b. 1946 - d. 1996), an English professor
at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Wilson's previous publications
included A Reader's Guide to the Short Stories of Mark Twain (1987).
He also served as co-editor of The Mark Twain Encyclopedia (1993).
- Tom Sawyer Abroad. This volume is a photographic facsimile
of the 1894 first American edition. The introduction was written by Nat Hentoff
(b. 1925), a prolific author as well as newspaper columnist for the Washington
Post and Village Voice. The afterword was written by M. (Milton)
Thomas Inge (b. 1936), professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia
and authority on popular culture and comic art history. Inge's previous publications
included his work as editor on Huck Finn Among the Critics (1985).
- The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson and the Comedy Those Extraordinary
Twins. This volume is a photographic facsimile of the 1894 first American
edition, first state. The introduction was written by Sherley Anne Williams
(b. 1944 - d. 1999), author, poet, playwright and professor of literature
and writing at the University of California, San Diego. Williams's novel Dessa
Rose (1986), the story of an enslaved black woman and a white Southern
belle, was her most widely acclaimed novel. The afterword was written by David
Lionel Smith (b. 1954), professor at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Smith was co-editor of The Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and
- Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc. This volume is a photographic
facsimile of the 1896 first American edition, first state. The introduction
was written by author Justin Kaplan (b. 1925), winner of the 1966 Pulitzer
Prize for Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain. The afterword was written by
Susan Kumin Harris (b. 1945) who was professor of American literature at Pennsylvania
State University in State College. Harris's previous publications included
Mark Twain's Escape from Time (1982); annotations for the Library of
America volume Mark Twain, Historical Romances: The Prince and the Pauper,
A Connecticut Yankee, Joan of Arc (1994); and The Courtship of Olivia
Langdon and Mark Twain (1996).
- The Stolen White Elephant and Other Detective Stories. The
1996 hardcover volume is a composite of two books and one novella never previously
bound together. It contains a photographic facsimile of the complete 1882
first American edition of The Stolen White Elephant, Etc. According
to editor Fishkin, a miscommunication with the printers of the volume resulted
in that complete book being photographed rather than only the title story
"The Stolen White Elephant." The second section of this volume is
the novella Tom Sawyer, Detective, which is a photographic facsimile
from the 1896 first American edition of Tom Sawyer Abroad; Tom Sawyer,
Detective, and Other Stories. The third section is a photographic facsimile
of the 1902 first American edition of A Double Barrelled Detective Story.
The original intent of this volume was to bind together only the three detective
stories. By including the entire contents of the 1882 The Stolen White
Elephant, Etc. by mistake, some material outside of the detective story
genre is included in the 1996 hardcover edition. When this volume was released
in the 2009 softcover edition, only the title story "The Stolen White
Elephant" from The Stolen White Elephant, Etc. was included --
as originally intended. The introduction for the volume was written by Walter
Mosley (b. 1952), an American novelist widely recognized for his detective
fiction and who was president of the Mystery Writers of America organization.
The afterword was written by Lillian S. Robinson (b. 1941 - d. 2006), a feminist
scholar and activist who was professor of English at East Carolina University
in Greenville, North Carolina. Robinson had taught graduate and undergraduate
courses in detective fiction. Robinson's own detective novel Murder Most
Puzzling was published in 1998.
- How to Tell a Story and Other Essays. This volume is a photographic
facsimile of the 1897 first American edition. The introduction was written
by David Henry Bradley, Jr. (b. 1950), a novelist, essayist and teacher whose
novel The Chaneysville Incident (1981) won the Pen/Faulkner Award and
an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The afterword
was written by Pascal Covici, Jr. (b. 1930 - d. 1997). Covici was a professor
at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and had served as president
of the Mark Twain Circle of America. His previous publications included Mark
Twain's Humor: The Image of a World (1962).
- Following the Equator and Anti-imperialist Essays. This volume
combines two books and one 16-page tract that were never previously bound
together on one volume. The text of Following the Equator is a photographic
facsimile of the 1897 first American edition. The second item in this volume
is To The Person Sitting in Darkness and is a photographic facsimile
of the 1901 edition 16-page tract which was itself a reprint of the serial
text from the February 1901 North American Review magazine article.
The third item in this volume is King Leopold's Soliloquy: a Defense of
His Congo Rule and is a photographic facsimile of the 1905 first American
edition. The introduction was written by Gore Vidal (b. 1925 - d. 2012), an
American writer and outspoken critic of American foreign policy known for
his often provocative essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. The
afterword was written by Fred Kaplan (b. 1937), noted biographer and professor
at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
- The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories and Essays.
This volume is a photographic facsimile of the first American edition, second
state. The introduction was written by Cynthia Ozick (b. 1928), an award winning
short story writer, novelist and essayist. The afterword was written by Jeffrey
Rubin-Dorsky (b. 1947), a professor at the University of Colorado. Rubin-Dorsky's
previous publications included People of the Book: Thirty Scholars Reflect
on Their Jewish Identity (1996), which he co-edited with Shelley Fisher
- The Diaries of Adam and Eve. This volume binds together two
books previously published separately. No book by the title The Diaries
of Adam and Eve was ever published during Mark Twain's lifetime. The first
segment of this volume is a photographic facsimile of the 1904 first American
edition of Extracts from Adam's Diary, Translated from the Original MS.
The second segment of this volume is a photographic facsimile of the 1906
first American edition of Eve's Diary, Translated from the Original MS.
The introduction was written by Ursula K. Le Guin (b. 1929), an award-winning
novelist and short story writer of fantasy and science fiction. The afterword
was written by Laura Skandera-Trombley (b. 1960) who was an associate professor
at State University of New York at Potsdam. Skandera-Trombley's previous publications
included Mark Twain in the Company of Women (1994).
- What Is Man? This volume is a photographic facsimile of a
copy of the 1906 first American edition, "second issue." The introduction
was written by author and playwright Charles R. Johnson (b. 1948) who was
a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. Johnson enjoyed the
reputation of gifted philosopher and provocative writer. The afterword was
written by Linda Wagner-Martin (b. 1936) who was professor at the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wagner-Martin was the author of recent works
on John Steinbeck, Gertrude Stein and William Faulkner as well as co-editor
of The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States (1995).
- The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories. This volume is a photographic
facsimile of the 1906 first American edition, second state. The introduction
was written by Frederick Matthew Busch (b. 1941 - d. 2006), prolific, award-winning
novelist and short story writer and professor at Colgate University. The afterword
was written by Judith Yaross Lee (b. 1949), author and professor at Ohio University.
Lee was a founding member of the Mark Twain Circle and a contributor to The
Mark Twain Encyclopedia (1993).
- Christian Science, with Notes Containing Corrections to Date.
This volume is a photographic facsimile of the 1907 first American edition.
The introduction was written by Pulitzer Prize winning author, journalist
and historian Garry Wills (b. 1934), who was an adjunct professor at Northwestern
University in Evanston, Illinois. The afterword was written by Hamlin Hill
(b. 1931 - d. 2002), professor at Texas A&M University. Hill's previous
publications on Mark Twain included Mark Twain and Elisha Bliss (1964),
Mark Twain's Letters to His Publishers (ed., 1967) and Mark Twain:
God's Fool (1973).
- Chapters from My Autobiography. This volume is a photographic
facsimile of the serial printing of 25 installments that appeared in the North
American Review between September 1906 and December 1907. These installments
were never published in book format during Mark Twain's lifetime. The introduction
was written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Arthur Miller (b. 1915 -
d. 2005). The afterword was written by Michael J. Kiskis (b. 1954 - d. 2011),
associate professor at Elmira College. Kiskis served on the advisory board
of the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Quarry Farm and had previously edited
an edition of this same collection titled Mark Twain's Own Autobiography:
The Chapters from the North American Review (1990).
- 1601 and Is Shakespeare Dead? This volume binds together two
works not previously issued in this format during Mark Twain's lifetime. The
text of 1601 is a photographic facsimile of the first authorized
American edition of Date 1601. Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside,
in the time of the Tudors (known as the West Point edition) which was
dated 1882 on the title page. The text of Is Shakespeare Dead? is a
photographic facsimile of a copy of the 1909 first American edition. The introduction
was written by novelist and poet Erica Jong (b. 1942). The afterword was written
by Leslie A. Fiedler (b. 1917 - d. 2003) who was the Samuel Clemens Professor
of English at the State University of New York at Buffalo. According to editor
Fishkin, this volume was not slated for inclusion in the Oxford Mark Twain
edition until she was challenged to issue 1601 by Leslie A. Fiedler:
Sometimes authors I had invited to write introductions helped shape the
scope of the series itself. I forget which volume I had invited Leslie
Fiedler to write on, but I'll never forget his response. He wrote that
he had no interest whatsoever in writing about the volume I had asked
him to engage, but he would be delighted to write about a text that he
was sure we weren't including in the series because we didn't have the
guts to: 1601. It was true that I hadn't planned to include 1601
-- but that was because, at the time, we were envisioning each text
as a stand-alone book, with three exceptions (the volume that included
anti-imperialist writings and Following the Equator, the volume
that bound together several of Twain's texts involving detectives, and
the volume that bound together Extracts from Adam's Diary and Eve's
Diary). Fiedler's challenge intrigued me. It occurred to me that given
the centrality of Shakespeare and Elizabethan England in both 1601
and another text we had not planned to include, Is Shakespeare Dead?,
that I could possibly make a case for adding a volume with both texts.
I explored this tentatively with Oxford -- but decided that it would work
only if I could persuade Erica Jong to write the introduction, given her
own intense interest as a writer in eros, in Elizabethan England and Shakespeare,
in the writing process, and in language experiments. I was very pleased
to be able to include both Jong's wonderful introduction and Fiedler's
superb afterword in the set (Fishkin, 9 August 2012).
- Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven. This volume
is a photographic facsimile of the 1909 first American edition. The introduction
was written by award winning science fiction author Frederik Pohl (b. 1919).
The afterword was written by James A. Miller (b. 1944) who was a professor
at the University of South Carolina in Columbus and had previously served
as a trustee of the Mark Twain Memorial in Hartford, Connecticut.
- Speeches. This volume is a photographic facsimile of the 1910
first American edition of Mark Twain's Speeches, with an Introduction by
William Dean Howells. The introduction was written by celebrated actor
Hal Holbrook (b. 1925), creator of the Tony-award-winning one-man show, "Mark
Twain Tonight!" The afterword was written by David Barrow (b. 1955),
who was assistant professor at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Barrow
had previously contributed essays to The Mark Twain Encyclopedia (1993)
as well as other scholarly journals.
- Photographic reproductions of first American editions and printings
- Issued in both hardcover and softcover editions
- Issued in both boards and full cloth bindings
- No volume numbers
- Sold as sets and as individual volumes
- Trade set bound in maroon cloth and boards priced at $295
- Library edition in total maroon cloth binding priced at $395
- Autographed edition, limited to 300 sets, in maroon cloth binding priced
- Individual volumes priced from $15 to $25 each
- Hardcover titles feature different graphics on the jackets
Shelley Fisher. Personal correspondence. 9 and 10 August 2012.
Vonnegut, Novelist Who Caught the Imagination of His Age, Is Dead at 84."
New York Times, 12 April 2007.
Norman. "Huckleberry Finn, Alive at 100," New York Times Book Review,
9 December 1984.
Richard. "George Plimpton, Urbane and Witty Writer, Dies at 76," New
York Times, 26 September 2003.
Morris, a Pure Produce of Southern Soil," USA Today, 4 August 1999.
Morris, Writer on the Southern Experience, 64," San Diego Union Tribune,
6 August 1999.