Suffering from wanderlust like many of his countrymen, Mark Twain had the good fortune to be paid to offer his observations in a series of travel letters and books. Curious and indefatigable, he used his incomparable skills to produce the vivid descriptions and humorous commentaries that made his books immensely popular. At the same time, travel writing afforded him the opportunity to engage in more personal explorations.
The looseness of the travel narrative enabled Twain to put down virtually whatever came to mind, with little concern about connections. At a time when established values were faltering, this tolerance suited him. His travel books are strings of incidents, anecdotes, descriptions, and the occasional odd detail, all arranged along a geographical line. At any given moment, Twain's anarchistic independence was free to assert itself.
The travel books are more than entertaining compilations. They represent serious, if offhand, explorations of Mark Twain's outer and inner worlds and help define him as part of the whole van of modernists moving into the twentieth century.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1987.