Mark Twain on the Jumping Frog The Mark Twain Library

Alan Eliasen, Proprietor. Established 1994.

I admit it--I'm stupid. I read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in Junior High and High School and never once realized that they were funny. (Yes, I'm that stupid... I even thought that Huck Finn was basically a story about a boy on a raft.) When I was 21, I was paging through The Innocents Abroad and found the part where Twain and his friends annoy their European tour guide by asking him ridiculous questions and I said, "Wait a minute--this is funny!" And not just "supposed to be funny" in that old-fashioned author sort of way that the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet is supposed to be an absolute crackup... it's fresh and alive and every bit as entertaining today.

Novels and Full-Length Works

In my opinion, Twain was at his best when he wrote (often facetiously) about events in his own life. The works below are some of my very favorite books in the world. All of the novels have now been made available in a chapter-by-chapter and full-book-in-one-file format. This should make browsing or searching much more enjoyable!

The Innocents Abroad
Twain's first major work, and one of my favorite books in the entire world. This is Twain's account of a trip to Europe and the Holy Land when he was 33. This book is completely irreverent and utterly hilarious. Never before available in e-text, as far as I know.
Roughing It
A lively description of a young Mark Twain's travels in the booming West in search of his fortune. Twain was a gold miner, journalist, lecturer, writer, and travel correspondent over the course of a few short years. He even became a millionaire for a brief ten days. One can see echoes of today's Internet boom (and bust) in his description of "the rise, growth and culmination of the silver-mining fever in Nevada--a curious episode, in some respects; the only one, of its peculiar kind, that has occurred in the land; and the only one, indeed, that is likely to occur in it." Most likely my second-favorite book in the world.
Life on the Mississippi
A fascinating and humorous tale of the Mississippi and its people. If you're like me, you'll wish you could have been a riverboat pilot after reading this book. Or maybe not--if you drew an apprenticeship under someone like Mr. Brown, a "horse-faced, ignorant, stingy, malicious, snarling, fault hunting, mote-magnifying tyrant," whom young Twain plotted to murder in seventeen different ways.
A Tramp Abroad
Twain's second major travel journal, describing his journeys in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Begun in 1878 when Twain was 43 years old. Whether describing his role in a French Duel (which he suggested fighting with "Gatling-guns at fifteen paces",) or cursing "The Awful German Language," Twain is always amusing.

Links to Other Sites

Mark Twain Quotes
Barbara Schmidt, proprietor. A spectacular, well-organized list of Twain quotations on any subject. As if that weren't enough, there is a vast number of other interesting Twain resources, and almost every page is illustrated with a different photograph, or caricature, or cartoon, of our favorite author.

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