Worth the 100-year wait? Mark Twain’s racy autobiography scheduled for release.
Last week marked the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain’s death, and that means that his autobiography can finally be released. The Independent reports that the quirky father of American literature’s Gilded Age stipulated that his juicy memoir couldn’t be published for a century after his death.
And juicy it is. Among other things, he opens up about the sordid affair with his secretary, Isabel Van Kleek Lyon, who bought him an “electric vibrating sex toy.”
The Independent quotes historian Laura Trombley: “Most people think Mark Twain was a sort of genteel Victorian. Well, in this document he calls her a slut and says she tried to seduce him. It’s completely at odds with the impression most people have of him.”
No one knows why he wanted to wait so long to have the autobiography published. Some scholars speculate that he hoped to be able to write freely about issues of the day. Others suspect he didn’t want to offend friends. What we do know is that none of his contemporaries are around to read about it.
Volume I (it’s the first of three) comes in at 743 pages and will be published in November by the University of California Press. Our intrepid book reviewer, Andrew Ladd, will be all over it.