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Roughing It (Mark Twain Library)

Roughing It (Mark Twain Library) (Paperback) by Mark Twain (Author)

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Product Description

  • Includes all 304 first-edition illustrations by True Williams, Edward F. Mullen, and others
  • Provides the first and only text that adheres to the author's wishes in details of wording, spelling, and punctuation, restored from original sources.
  • Features expert annotation, specially prepared maps, facsimile manuscript pages, and other supplementary documents
  • Reproduces the text and notes of the Mark Twain Project's 1993 edition, winner of the Modern Language Association Prize for a "Distinguished Scholarly Edition"

Mark Twain's humorous account of his six years in Nevada, San Francisco, and the Sandwich Islands is a patchwork of personal anecdotes and tall tales, many of them told in the "vigorous new vernacular" of the West. Selling seventy five thousand copies within a year of its publication in 1872, Roughing It was greeted as a work of "wild, preposterous invention and sublime exaggeration" whose satiric humor made "pretension and false dignity ridiculous." Meticulously restored from a variety of original sources, the text is the first to adhere to the author's wishes in thousands of details of wording, spelling, and punctuation, and includes all of the 304 first-edition illustrations. With its comprehensive and illuminating notes and supplementary materials, which include detailed maps tracing Mark Twain's western travels, this Mark Twain Library Roughing It must be considered the standard edition for readers and students of Mark Twain.

Contemporary Review

A short notice of Recent Literature from the June 1872 issue of The Atlantic Monthly


5 out of 5 stars ROUGHING IT, September 17, 2005

By G. L. Nelson (Kingsport,TNUnited States) (REAL NAME)    

This "Mark Twain Project" paperback edition of ROUGHING IT is by far the best version for most readers. It is an excellent value. The 200 pages of "Explanatory Notes" at the end, add greatly to the modern reader's understanding of the 1860's "Wild West". The Early Western Mining Frontier comes vividly and colorfully to life, thanks to the Explanatory Notes' full illumination of the fascinating, often hilarious, eyewitness account of young Sam Clemens.

The 21st century reader now sees the momentous impact of Samuel Colt's "Navy Revolver" on frontier society, fully comprehends a "Stamp Mill's" importance to the silver mines of the Comstock Lode, and is in complete agreement about the "thoroughbrace's" necessity to the Overland Stage traveler's comfort! This edition also contains all 304 first edition illustrations, another great aid allowing the modern reader to take a virtual walk into a vanished time.

In the "Foreword" to this edition, Editor Harriet Elinor Smith notes, " The vernacular style of ROUGHING IT often seems surprisingly fresh to modern readers.....". I'm betting that many readers, younger ones especially, may approach this book with dread, only to become immersed in the rollicking adventure, and reach the end of ROUGHING IT with regret. The readers who return for a second, third or more reading, will discover many levels of depth to ROUGHING IT that will continue to entertain and educate reading after reading, year after year.

From the "Foreword" to this edition, Editor Smith also observes, "Although readers have long been entertained by ROUGHING IT, it has gradually become part of all serious study of American culture. Students of history have come to rely on it for accurate information about the period, and it has played a major role in shaping the myth of the "Wild West".......No examination of American popular culture would be complete without Mark Twain's imaginative reminiscence of what it was like to be "on the ground in person"".

So, if you are tired of all this bickering between the North and South, and feel it may be healthier to get away from the tensions, I hear tell there's a great silver strike in a new territory called "Nevada", near a place called "Virginia City". It's July 1861 and there is an Overland Stage westbound, St Joseph, Missouri to Carson City, Nevada Territory.

Buckle on your Navy Colt and climb aboard!

5 out of 5 stars A COMIC GENIUS, November 17, 2006

By Brian D. Fitzpatrick (Medford, MA)

(born Nov.1835, Florida, Mo.,US-died April 21,1910, Redding,Conn.)

-humorist,writer and lecturer.

'ROUGHING IT'is Twain's decription of his adventures in Nevada,Califonia,and the Sandwich Islands originally published in (1872).After the immediate success of the publication of 'THE INNOCENTS ABROAD'which firmly established Twain's reputation as a writer he was spurned on by the AMERICAN PUBLISHING COMPANY to bring out a volume based on his experiences in the west.Thus, 'ROUGHING IT' was created.A highly entertaining and humurous narrative of his escapades in the Western United States towards the end of the 19th Century.

A little taste:

from (copyright 1979 Running Press)

This is the before and after descriptions of a company of men lost in a snow storm-with little or no hope of survival.

Before (impending doom)

"...Poor Ollendorff broke down and the tears came.He was not alone,for I was crying too,and so was Mr. Ballou.Ollendorff forgave me for things

I had done and said.Then he got out his bottle of whisky and said that whether he lived or died he would never touch another drop.He said he had given up all hope of life,and although ill-prepared,was ready to submit humbly to his fate-----------Mr.Ballou made remarks of similar purport,and began the reform he could not live to continue,by throwing away his ancient pack of cards--------My own remarks were of the same tenor as those of my comrades.We were all sincere,and all deeply moved and earnest,for we were in the precense of death and without hope.I threw away my pipe,and in doing it,I felt that at last I was free of a hated vice and one that had ridden me like a tyrant all my life.We put our arms around each other's necks and awaited the warning drowziness that occurs with death by freezing.

After-(Alive and Well)

After breakfast we felt better,and the zest of life soon came back.The world looked bright again,and existence was as dear to us as ever.Presently and uneasiness came over me-grew upon me-assailed me without ceasing.Alas,my regeneration was not complete-I wanted to smoke!

I resisted with all my strength,but the flesh was weak.I wandered away alone and wrestled with myself for an hour.I recalled my promises of reform and preached to myself persuasively,unbraidingly,exaustively.But all was in vain,I shortly found myself sneaking amoung the snowdrifts hunting for my pipe.I discovered it after a considerable search,and crept away to hide myself to enjoy it.At last I lit my pipe,and no human can feel meaner and baser than I did then.I was ashamed of being in my own pitiful company.Still dreading discovery,I felt that perhaps the further side of the barn would be somewhat safer,and so I turned the corner.As I turned the corner,smoking,Ollendorff turned the other with his bottle to his lips,and between us sat unconscious Ballou deep in a game of "solitaire" with the old greasy cards..."

Turn to Chapters 22 and 23 for a more cohesive description of this comic episode. Laughter is good medicine,and this is a fun read on one of those gloomy days you might encounter along your way. Enjoy.Good health!

2 out of 5 stars I simply couldn't get through it, June 28, 2008

By A. Stone "quirky reader" (Vancouver BC Canada) (REAL NAME)    

I had read strong reviews for this book, and bought it hoping for a good read. Perhaps this is indicative of over 140 years of transition of reading styles and ideas, but I found it a tough go and eventually gave up. The insights were terrific, but the style lengthly, wandering, and while amusing, simply more work and time than I wanted to devote to a modestly interesting read.

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