The Writings of Mark Twain (Autograph edition)
Hartford, Ct. The American Publishing Company, 1899 - 1907.
Hartford, Ct. The American Publishing Company, 1899 - 1907. First edition. Set 13 of 512 copies. Signed by the author on the limitation page in the first volume, by Charles D. Warner in volume 10, by a number of the artists on their plates and by Brander Matthews who wrote an introductory essay. Beautiful contemporary (publishers?) binding in full dark blue crushed levant morocco with five raised bands, full gilt in spine compartments, geometric patterns on the front and rear boards intertwined with vines, red morocco doublures with gilt corner-pieces, red moiré silk free endpapers, top edges gilt, others uncut. Set is in Fine condition with the following exceptions: volumes 5, 16, 19-22, all Near Fine on account of minor scuffing or chips at the spine. All hinges firm, without cracking or wear. No repairs. An extremely desirable set in full morocco.
Faulkner called Twain “the father of American Literature.” The reach of Twain’s style is still felt today – not just in prose – but in film and television as well. It is not unreasonable to think, as Ralph Ellison claims, that Twain helped establish an American national identity. He “transformed elements of regional vernacular speech into a medium of uniquely American literary expression and thus taught us how to capture that which is essentially American…”
Twain was born in Hannibal, Missouri and took up as a steamboat pilot and miner before becoming a journalist. His output was prolific, and he first tasted success upon publishing “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” in 1865. The story proved incredibly popular and made Twain a household name. He followed that with "Roughing It" and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," in 1876. In 1884, Twain would publish his masterwork, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," the quintessential ‘Great American Novel’. As Hemingway famously said: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” Critic Jerome Loving claims Huckleberry Finn in particular – and its style – had an immense impression: “It was Whitman that brought in the vernacular in poetry, and Twain did it for prose. The American language is kind of freed up by our literature, by Whitman and by Mark Twain. We no longer looked back on the British for approval as we did for so long. Early in the 19th century, a Scottish critic said, "Who reads an American book? Who would want to?" After Twain, of course, this was no longer the case.” Fine (Item #1531)