This volume provides authoritative texts of Twain’s unpublished writings, both fictional and factual, about the people and places of his home town, Hannibal, Missouri.
A significant part of only one of them, "Jane Lampton Clemens," has been published; it was inserted unjustifiably in Twain's Authobiography . Written soon after the death of Clemens's mother on 27October 1890, it arranges and assesses a son's recollections of a vibrant personality important in shaping his life. At the start the author turns to the time when he, a six-year-old, knelt with his mother by the bed on which his dead brother lay—a harassing experience that understandably seared the boy's memory. The sketch moves on to a host of details about antebellum Hannibal, its society and its attitudes toward slavery, and to vivid memories about the child, his mother, and his father in the 1840's and 1850's. The movement from a single remembered episode to a series of loosely associated recollections was a typical performance in Clemens's "autobiography" and his fiction.