Hard Cover. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1883. First Edition. Very Good.
Illustrated with 316 illustrations by John Harley, Edmund Henry Garrett, and A. B. Shute. First edition, second state, with "The St. Charles Hotel" to p. 443. Publisher's brown cloth, decorated to front board in black and gilt, and gray-tan endpapers. Near fine, with light toning to spine, very bright gilt on front board, light rubbing to spine ends and corners, ownership stamp to front and rear free endpapers, ownership inscription to front free endpaper, hairline crack to front hinge, and light soiling to a few pages. Overall, a very attractive and unrestored copy. BAL 3411. Life on the Mississippi is a semi-autobiographical text about the history of the Mississippi River and the author's adventures riding on a steamboat from St. Louis to New Orleans. While much of the information in this text is factual, many of the individual episodes were fabricated to varying degrees and are better considered tall tales than accurate documentation. For example, Twain provides an account of the origin of his pseudonym, which he claims he took from Captain Isaiah Sellers. While the explanation of "mark twain" as a riverman's phrase for water found to be two fathoms deep (12 feet) is undoubtedly correct, it is likely that the stories regarding Sellers are at least partially embellished. In addition to offering insight into the author's earlier life, Life on the Mississippi provides historical context on the industrialization of the United States in the second half of the 19th century; throughout the text, Twain discusses the competition of railroads along with the growing cities in the American Midwest and South. Item #MT119