Charting the Autobiographies of Mark Twain

Waller, Hal L. , Department of English, University of Virginia
Howard, Alan, Department of English, University of Virginia
Kolb, Harold, Department of English, University of Virginia

This project catalogs in a hypertextual medium the published autobiographical writings of Mark Twain, organizing them chronologically by date of composition. A description of each autobiographical piece of writing is hyperlinked to the table of contents of each of the four published versions of the autobiography in which the passage appears. This design allows the comparison of the different editors' approaches to the autobiography. The design also serves as an index for the published portion of Twain's autobiography in order of composition, the manner in which Twain meant for his autobiography to be ultimately presented. Short descriptions containing key words from the passage follow each entry in the chart. Tables of contents for each of the published versions of the autobiography are similarly annotated, in addition to the descriptions/titles provided by the editor. The annotations are designed to make the site electronically searchable, enabling a student of Twain to gain access to all four autobiographies simultaneously. In his lifetime, Twain composed over 500,000 words of autobiography on subjects as diverse as his childhood, his own familiy, and his attitude about current events in the 20th century. Many biographers have depicted a Mark Twain embittered in the last decade of his life, but when looked upon as a whole, Twain's autobiography does not corroborate this. This project attempts to present Twain's autobiography in the manner most similar to the one that he envisioned, and when his writings are examined in this way, a balance is shown between Twain's humor, criticism, and nostalgia.

MA (Master of Arts)

Originally published on the XRoads site for the UVA American Studies program. Years range from 1995-2005. Content is captured at the level of functionality available on the date of capture.

All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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