"Your Mark Twain"

The Clifton Waller Barrett Collection

That was the title Harper & Brothers gave to an illustrated brochure they created in 1912 to publicize their new 25-volume set of MT's works, the Author's National Edition. Like so much of what MT himself did, the brochure was intended to sell something. It nonetheless provides access to some of the ways the Americans of MT's time understood and valued his cumulative achievement -- as humorist, as "serious" writer, as popular hero. In both its pictures and its text, in the scenes it reproduces, the memories of reading MT it recalls and the adjectives it uses, the brochure helps us appreciate their Mark Twain.

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