Author Mark Twain once wrote, “It is no use to keep private information which you can't show off.” Twain, whose given name was Samuel Clemens, will finally show off his most private information 100 years after his death, with the publication of his autobiography.
The author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn wrote the manuscript for his autobiography, but left explicit instructions that it not be published until a century after his death. That time has now come, and the University of California, Berkeley (which has had possession of the manuscript in a vault) will release the first of three volumes of the great American writer's autobiography this fall. We talk with Bob Hirst, general editor of The Mark Twain Project at U.C. Berkeley's Bancroft Library. Hirst has worked for five years to prepare the autobiography for publication. Although he admits there will be no new revelations about Twain's life, the book does include personal information such as Twain's opinions about politics at the time. Hirst says the new tome will "be an enlightening experience, once people read it." We also hear from Steve Courtney, publicist for The Mark Twain House, in Hartford, Connecticut.