Mark Twain Books


Patricia Truslow, Contributor

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mark twain booksThe amount literature produced by Mark Twain is almost incomprehensible. Before he died in 1910, he had published over thirty books and pamphlets, about four thousand newspaper and magazine articles, and over fifty thousand letters. Additionally, there are thousands and thousands of words written by Mark Twain that were never published, some destroyed by him; others just never published. Of one surviving essay still unpublished, Twain said: "I will leave it behind and utter it from the grave. There is free speech there, and no harm to the family."

Books by Mark Twain have proven to be what he wanted them to be: Entertainment, food for thought, a landscape about life, a look into what makes people tick, and many more things. Mark Twain literature is studied at all levels of school and in many countries, whether in the form of a book, an audio book, an essay or a collection of quotations. The ten most famous, and some historians feel the best of Mark Twain's books and novels are:

  • The Innocents Abroad 1869
  • The Gilded Age 1873
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 1876
  • The Prince and the Pauper 1881
  • Life on the Mississippi 1883
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 1885
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court 1889
  • The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson 1894
  • Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc Vol. 1 1896
  • Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc Vol. 2 1896

Despite its respected place among American literature that is indicative of the time period in which it was written, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a banned book written by Mark Twain. It was first banned by the public library in Concord, Massachusetts in 1885 because of racially offensive language, and objections to it have continued to evolve, although it has never been globally banned. When Twain heard of the banning, he told his editor: "Apparently, the Concord library has condemned Huck as 'trash and only suitable for the slums.' This will sell us another twenty-five thousand copies for sure!" In 1905, the Boston Public Library banned both this novel and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Today, the value of rare Mark Twain books is astronomical. For instance, an 1876 publication of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, bound in blue cloth with gold stamped letters sells for over $19,000; a first printing, signed copy of The Celebrated Jumping Grog of Calaveras County, published in 1867 sells for $45,000. Old Mark Twain books vary in value based on the condition, the actual printing date and whether a signature is original or a printed facsimile. A collection of Mark Twain books consisting of twenty-five volumes, published between 1899 and 1903 sells for $40,000 without signatures on any of them. Mark Twain's last book was his own autobiography, which he did not want printed until one-hundred years after his death, a request that was honored by his trustees.

The other notable works that have long been Mark Twain favorites are: A Tramp Abroad, about travel including a mixture of autobiography and fictional events; Letters from Earth, in which Twain positions Satan on Earth from which he writes to God about things the humans are doing, and Roughing It, another semi-autobiographical book of travel literature. One of his most indicative essays is "The Damned Human Race" in which he writes about the human race being inferior, not superior to other species, saying: "In the course of my experiments I convinced myself that among the animals man is the only one that harbors insults and injuries, broods over them, waits till a chance offers, then takes revenge. The passion of revenge is unknown to the higher animals."

In addition to those books mentioned above, the following completes the list of Twain's books:

1867) The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (fiction)

1868) General Washington's ***** Body-Servant (fiction)

1868) My Late Senatorial Secretaryship (fiction)

1871) Mark Twain's (Burlesque) Autobiography and First Romance (fiction)

1876) Old Times on the Mississippi (non-fiction)

1877) The Invalid's Story (Fiction)

1878) Punch, Brothers, Punch! and other Sketches (fiction)

1880) 1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors (fiction))

1892) The American Claimant (fiction)

1892) Merry Tales (fiction)

1892) Those Extraordinary Twins (fiction)

1894) Tom Sawyer Abroad (fiction)

1896) Tom Sawyer, Detective (fiction)

1897) Following the Equator (non-fiction travel)

1900) The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg (fiction)

1902) A Double Barreled Detective Story (fiction)

1904) A Dog's Tale (fiction)

1904) Extracts from Adam's Diary (fiction)

1905) The War Prayer (fiction)

1906) The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories (fiction)

1906) Eve's Diary (fiction)

1907) Christian Science (non-fiction)

1907) A Horse's Tale (fiction)

1907) Is Shakespeare Dead? (non-fiction)

1909) Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven (fiction)

1909) Letters from the Earth (fiction, published posthumously)

1910) Queen Victoria's Jubilee (non-fiction)

1916) The Mysterious Stranger (fiction, published posthumously)

1924) Mark Twain's Autobiography (non-fiction, published posthumously)

1935) Mark Twain's Notebook (published posthumously)

1962) Letters from the Earth (posthumous, edited by Bernard DeVoto)

1969) No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger (fiction, published posthumously)

1985) Concerning the Jews (published posthumously)

1992) Mark Twain's Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippine- American War. Jim Zwick, ed. published posthumously)

1995) The Bible According to Mark Twain: Writings on Heaven, Eden, and the Flood (published posthumously)