Texts of "Our Fellow Savages"

Illustration from Roughing It

Only a few manuscript pages of MT's favorite lecture survive, but even if we had a complete manuscript it could only approximate any particular performance of the lecture. MT rewrote the piece several times between 1866 and 1873: to deliver it to eastern audiences, to make it more suitable for British audiences. And because he spoke from memory or from brief notes, MT probably never gave it the exactly the same way twice.

Available below are five different versions of the lecture. The first two are composites put together by modern scholars, mainly from various newspaper accounts and transcriptions. Both of these attempt to reproduce the lecture as MT would have given it during his 1869-1870 tour. My own favorite is Paul Fatout's, listed first below. The third, from Walter Frear's Mark Twain and Hawaii, reprints the transcription of an 1873 performance in Brooklyn. As Lorch points out, this version is the one MT was rehearsing for his British engagements later that year. One good thing about this version is that it allows us to "hear" MT's contemporary audience, because the reporter included "[Laughter.]" in his report. The last two are from reporters' transcriptions of performances in St. Louis (1867) and Providence (1869).

The COMPARE link allows you to put these five versions next to each other, and thus see the kinds of differences you would have heard if you'd gone to more than one performance of the lecture.