Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mark Twain's Autobiography

Mark Twain in famous 1909 Edison Film.

I just ordered my copy of Mark Twain's autobiography, to be released November 15, 2010, 100 years after his death.

He must have thought a lot of himself to think that people, in 100 years, would be interested in reading about his life. :0

Well, the book is only No.3 on Amazon.com right now.

I love Mark Twain. On the CBS program Sunday Morning, a few days ago, it was said that he believed himself to be the most conspicious person on the planet.

Well, there are no references to Mark Twain in the 1908-1913 Nicholson Family Letters. One of Margaret's newspaper clippings from 1910 has a note about Twain being gravely ill. But she clipped it for the suffrage reference above.

I checked out the Montreal Gazette archives to see how many articles on Twain they had in the 1905-1910 period, other than reports on his illness and death.

And they had plenty. It seems Twain went to London in 1909 and surprised 'all the pretty shopgirls' on the street by walking about in a blue bathrobe. Later, he had a few words with Edward 7th, presumably he'd changed into proper attire by then.

Twain was also giving depositions at hearings about copyright. And his daughter, Clara, was trying to make it a singer - and claimed it was hard being the daughter of a genius.

I think the Nicholsons and Mark Twain had something in common though. They were both poor - and poor due to a house. If I recall my Twain history, he spent a fortune on this very weird house and lost a lot of money on it.

I have Edith Nicholson's copy of Middlemarch and a few Dicken's novels. But no Huckleberry Finn or my favorite, A Connecticut Yankee. I imagine Marion would have been a Twain fan. She had a wicked sense of humour. Well, all the Nicholson women did.

You know, I've already blogged about how most 1910 best sellers are forgotten. Except for Anne of Green Gables.

And most old stories became 'new' favorites due to fabulous film and or TV adaptations. The "Colin Firth" Pride and Prejudice comes to mind. Even ANNE was made into a wonderful TV mini series, remember?

But I can't think of a movie or tv adaptation of a Twain book that stands out. (The Connecticut Yankee with Danny Kaye....OOOH.) His work stuck around on its own merit. In many ways, Twain suits radio. He had a great ear, right? I wonder if BBC Radio 4 or 7 is going to run any old or new adaptations at the anniversary of his death. I'd bet on it.