Eight chapters in Roughing It were derived from a
series of "travel letters" MT originally wrote in 1869-1870
for the Express, the Buffalo, New York, paper that
he was a part-owner and editor of right after his marriage.
They were intended to wind up in a book, but not
Roughing It. MT himself described the plan (and
explains the reason I have to put "travel letters" in
quotation marks) in an introduction he wrote to "Letter No.
I am just starting out on a pleasure trip around the globe, by proxy. That is to say, Professor D. R. Ford, of Elmira College, is now making the journey for me, and will write the newspaper account of his (our) trip. No, not that exactly -- but he will travel and write letters, and I shall stay at home and add a dozen pages to each of his letters. One of us will furnish the fancy and the jokes, and the other will furnish the facts. I am equal to either department, although statistics are my best hold.MT wound up publishing ten letters in the paper, the first eight of which he wrote himself after he realized that Professor Ford wasn't going to write very often. Two of the letters are entirely fanciful (No. 2 is called "Adventures in Hayti," and No. 8, set on Easter Island, is called "Dining with a Cannibal" -- MT never visited either island), but the other six describe California and Nevada with the same blend of realism and humor that made Innocents Abroad so popular and that would serve as the aesthetic formula for much of Roughing It too.
You can read those six letters here, along with an interactive feature that will allow you to compare them with the book: clicking on the ROUGHING IT ICON (left) whenever you see it will bring up a side-by-side comparison of the two texts, so you can see for yourself the kinds of revisions MT made.
|As you'll see when you compare, in many cases the Roughing It text follows the newspaper text very closely, though MT may move the parts around (the first half of Letter No. 4, for example, ends up in Chapter 57, and the second half in Chapter 37). Most drastically changed is Letter No. 7's accounts of the Chinese and the outlaws in the West. And nowhere to be seen in the newspaper versions is the first-person protagonist of Roughing It: the hapless tenderfoot whose naivetés and ineptitudes are the occasion for so much of the book's comedy. The COMPARE feature will let you see, for example, how he was added to the end of Letter No. 4's description of the elusive Whiteman and his cement mine.|