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Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals, Volume I

Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals, Volume I: (1855-1873)

Frederick Anderson
Michael B. Frank
Kenneth M. Sanderson
Copyright Date: 1975
Edition: 1
Pages: 690
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals, Volume I
    Book Description:

    Notebooks and journals from 1855-1873.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-90538-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. Calendar
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    In the summer of 1855, when the nineteen-year-old Sam Clemens traveled from Saint Louis to Hannibal, Paris, and Florida, Missouri, and then to Keokuk, Iowa, he carried with him a notebook in which he entered French lessons, phrenological information, miscellaneous observations, and reminders about errands to be performed. This first notebook thus took the random form which would characterize most of those to follow.

    Two years later, according to his account in chapter 6 ofLife on the Mississippi,Sam Clemens apprenticed himself to Horace Bixby, pilot of thePaul Jones,to learn “the Mississippi River from New Orleans to...

  7. I “What I Was at 19–20” (June–July 1855)
    (pp. 11-39)

    Samuel Clemens’ forty-nine surviving notebooks had their genesis in a small account ledger which originally was intended to serve as a French lesson copybook. This first notebook presents evidence that the nineteen-year-old printer was learning chess as well as French, reading a book on phrenology, examining a theological controversy, and assisting in his family’s business affairs. Although intrigued by feminine traits, he was surprisingly reticent about romantic emotions, observing and describing a young lady’s personal characteristics with the same detachment with which he made out a laundry list. The impartial manner in which Clemens juxtaposed the ephemeral and trivial with...

  8. II “Get a Little Memorandum-Book” (April–July 1857)
    (pp. 40-48)

    The first of the two memorandum books which survive from Clemens’ piloting career served specifically as a river guide rather than as a record of literary and biographical events. It came into being out of the necessity of coping with the bars, snags, shallows, and other navigational hazards on the Mississippi, and Clemens allowed none of his personal life to invade its complex technical content. He developed a system of notation which today is often undecipherable without knowledge of the geography of the area and familiarity with the language peculiar to piloting. Because of the abbreviated words, the frequent illegibility...

  9. III “A Pilot Now, Full Fledged” (November 1860–March 1861)
    (pp. 49-62)

    ln chapter 21 ofLife on the MississippiMark Twain would summarize the sequel to his piloting apprenticeship: “In due course I got my license. I was a pilot now, full fledged. I dropped into casual employments; no misfortunes resulting, intermittent work gave place to steady and protracted engagements. Time drifted smoothly and prosperously on, and I supposed—and hoped—that I was going to follow the river the rest of my days, and die at the wheel when my mission was ended.” Since the only surviving pilot’s certificate issued to Samuel Clemens is dated 9 April 1859 and is...

  10. IV “By Way of Angel’s . . . to Jackass Hill” (January–February 1865)
    (pp. 63-90)

    There is a gap of four years between Notebooks 3 and 4, a period for which no notebooks are known to exist. Following his experience as a Mississippi River pilot, Clemens helped form the Marion Rangers in the summer of 1861, after the outbreak of the Civil War. This informal connection with the Confederacy is described in “The Private History of a Campaign That Failed.” Having had his “taste” of the war, Clemens “stepped out again permanently” and in late July 1861 took advantage of his brother Orion’s recent appointment as Nevada territorial secretary to accompany him West. They arrived...

  11. V “Drifting About the Outskirts of the World” (March, June–September 1866)
    (pp. 91-178)

    There is an interval of slightly more than a year, from the end of February 1865 to the beginning of March 1866, between Notebooks 4 and 5. Mark Twain thought this period worthy of only a single paragraph in chapter 62of Roughing It:

    After a three months’ absence, I found myself in San Francisco again, without a cent. When my credit was about exhausted, (for I had become too mean and lazy, now, to work on a morning paper, and there were no vacancies on the evening journals,) I was created San Francisco correspondent of theEnterprise,and at...

  12. VI “The Loveliest Fleet of Islands” (March–April 1866)
    (pp. 179-237)

    Notebooks 5 and 6 were used in overlapping fashion, and the problems of their dating and their relation to each other are fully discussed in the headnote to Notebook 5.

    Approximately one-quarter of Notebook 6 is devoted to theAjaxvoyage to Hawaii and includes Mark Twain’s notes about the ship and its officers, comments about his fellow passengers, and the Hawaiian information he solicited from them. The balance of the notebook is a record of his first weeks on Oahu, from arrival in Honolulu on 18 March 1866 until around mid-April, when he began his tour of the other...

  13. VII “A Doomed Voyage” (December 1866–January 1867)
    (pp. 238-299)

    On 15 december 1866, Mark Twain sailed from San Francisco on the North American Steamship Company’s “opposition” steamerAmerica, bound for New York via Nicaragua, “leaving more friends behind me than any newspaper man that ever sailed out of the Golden Gate” (SLC to “Dear Folks,”MTBus,p. 89). Notebook 7 is his record of this journey. It is perhaps the most circumscribed of the early notebooks, covering less than a month in time and limited to the incidents of an itincrary that allowed little room for independent activity. Nevertheless, Notebook 7 has an obscure and difficult chronology which is...

  14. VIII “The Great Pleasure Excursion to Europe and the Holy Land” (May–July 1867)
    (pp. 300-369)

    Notebook 8 was evidently begun in mid-May 1867, less than three weeks before Clemens sailed in theQuaker Cityfor Europe and the Holy Land. It is the first of three survivingQuaker Citynotebooks and contains notes that Clemens made primarily for his letters to the San FranciscoAlta California,and so by extension for his first major book,The Innocents Abroad.He did make some early notes in New York for letters he sent to theAltabefore the trip began, but by far the largest portion of the notebook was filled with his initially enthusiastic record of...

  15. IX “A Funeral Excursion Without a Corpse” (August–October 1867)
    (pp. 370-452)

    The last dated entry in Notebook 8 (2 July 1867) left Clemens at sea, bound for Marseilles, while the entry bearing the earliest date in Notebook 9 (11 August 1867) marks his departure from the harbor of Naples. A notebook was certainly kept for the intervening period, but no evidence refutes Paine’s surmise that the “notes of this period are lost. We shall never know just what memoranda he made on the spot of the doings” of his companions as they traveled to Paris, Genoa, “then by rail through Italy to Milan, Venice, Florence and the rest, joining the ship...

  16. X “The Camping Grounds of the Patriarchs” (August–December 1867)
    (pp. 453-495)

    Notebook 10 was used by Clemens intermittently and somewhat erratically between mid-August 1867 and the end of that year. It contains entries related to theQuaker Citytrip and entries made during Clemens’ subsequent brief stint in Washington as a newspaper correspondent.

    It is clear that Clemens originally intended to use Notebook 10 as a portable reference guide during his travels in the Holy Land. Some time before he reached Beirut, he compiled the two extensive lists in this notebook: one, a skeleton list of biblical references, providing chapter and verse information for a number of Holy Land localities which...

  17. XI “Left San Francisco for New York . . . July 6, 1868” (July 1868)
    (pp. 496-516)

    Clemens recorded most of the entries in Notebook 11 while traveling from San Francisco to New York, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, in the summer of 1868. This notebook is largely made up of the two literary sketches, one completed and the second abandoned, that Clemens probably worked on during the Pacific and Atlantic stretches of the journey. In addition, the notebook includes observations, anecdotes, names, and topics intended for development in Clemens’ newspaper correspondence.

    Unfortunately no notebook survives from Clemens’ immensely productive stay in California during the spring of 1868. He had left Washington in March and...

  18. XII “My First Experience in Dictating” (June–July 1873)
    (pp. 517-572)

    The only surviving notebook between 1868 and 1877 is the fragmentary stenographic notebook kept by a young theological student named S. C. Thompson, whom Clemens hired as his secretary just before his trip to England in May 1873. Thompson was employed by Clemens for only a few weeks—during the Atlantic crossing and for a short time thereafter in London—before Clemens dismissed him. It is clear that, apart from the personal antipathy he developed toward Thompson, Clemens found dictation impracticable at the time. He advanced Thompson enough money for his return passage to America and promptly forgot his existence....

    (pp. 573-648)

    For all but one of the twelve notebooks in this volume the manuscript is the only authoritative version known to exist and is therefore the copytext. For a single exception, Notebook 1, a photocopy of the manuscript serves as copy-text, because the original is not now accessible. Eleven of the notebooks are in Clemens’ own hand, while Notebook 12 is an amanuensis notebook in shorthand, consisting almost entirely of remarks Clemens dictated to a secretary.

    Except for Notebooks 2 and 3, which are represented by excerpts, the texts of the holographic notebooks are presented exactly as Clemens wrote them, so...

  20. Index
    (pp. 649-668)