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Download Who Is Mark Twain? Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Who Is Mark Twain?, by Mark Twain Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (203 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Twain Narrator: John Lithgo Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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You had better shove this in the stove," Mark Twain said at the top of an 1865 letter to his brother, "for I don't want any absurd 'literary remains' and 'unpublished letters of Mark Twain' published after I am planted." He was joking, of course. But when Mark Twain died in 1910, he left behind the largest collection of personal papers created by any nineteenth-century American author.

Here, for the first time in book form, are twenty-four remarkable pieces by the American master—pieces that have been handpicked by Robert Hirst, general editor of the Mark Twain Project at the University of California, Berkeley. In "Jane Austen," Twain wonders if Austen's goal is to "make the reader detest her people up to the middle of the book and like them in the rest of the chapters." "The Privilege of the Grave" offers a powerful statement about the freedom of speech while "Happy Memories of the Dental Chair" will make you appreciate modern dentistry. In "Frank Fuller and My First New York Lecture" Twain plasters the city with ads to promote his talk at the Cooper Union (he is terrified no one will attend). Later that day, Twain encounters two men gazing at one of his ads. One man says to the other: "Who is Mark Twain?" The other responds: "God knows—I don't."

Wickedly funny and disarmingly relevant, Who Is Mark Twain? shines a new light on one of America's most beloved literary icons—a man who was well ahead of his time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “As funny and insightful as any of [Twain’s] published and well-known works, these essays take on the federal government, religion, race, fame, and even the literary canon with a sharp-eyed clarity we can chuckle over as we read while feeling uncomfortable knowing that they feel all too contemporary.”  

    Walter Mosely, New York Times bestselling author

  • “More than 100 years after [Twain] wrote these stories, they remain not only remarkably funny but remarkably modern….Ninety-nine years after his death, Twain still manages to get the last laugh.” 

    Vanity Fair

  • Who Is Mark Twain? is a refreshing reintroduction to both [Twain’s] critical analytical thought and his playful sense of humor.”  

    Los Angeles Times

  • “[Twain] was, in the phrase of his friend William Dean Howells, ‘the Lincoln of our literature’…At the heart of his work lies that greatest of all American qualities: irreverence.” 

    Washington Post

  • “A fine reading of a batch of hidden treasures.”  


  • Selected for the May 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Neil | 2/3/2014

    " 100 years after Twain's death and new material is still being published. Some of the pieces make you wonder why it took them so long, they're wonderful, however others are considerably less so. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rhapsodyblue00 | 1/29/2014

    " I would have liked the opportunity to meet this man. I loved his comments on Jane Austen, the postage rates on author's manuscripts, The missionary in world politics. This was a fast entertaining little book. I believe anyone who has ever read any of his works would enjoy this very much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Peggy | 12/29/2013

    " Previously unpublished stories now published 100 years after Twain's death. A few are unfinished, one includes rough notes of speeches, but most are as timely today as they were a century ago. It's an easy read, but definitely do not skip the introductory notes at the beginning of the book, which put the stories into a larger context and also reveal small facts of interest about most of them (though I think I would have preferred to have a small introductory editorial paragraph for each story, instead of something at the beginning of the book). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Greg | 12/26/2013

    " Fun to look into the sketchbook & scrap heap of this fellow. My favorite curmudgeon, still keeping us honest. "

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