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Don't Call it a

In 1865, Mark Twain wrote a letter to his brother. "You had better shove this in the stove," he scrawled on top, "for I don't want any absurd 'literary remains' and 'unpublished letters of Mark Twain' published after I am planted." He was kidding, of course, but it illustrates the writer's signature wit and irreverence. Who Is Mark Twain, a collection of the author's previously unpublished stories, was just released to coincide with the 99th anniversary of Twain's death. Handpicked by Robert Hirst, editor of the Mark Twain Project at the University of California, the decades-old stories remain remarkably modern and razor sharp. The two dozen sketches range from a black comedy about an undertaker, to gritty tale of old-timey dentistry, to examining Jane Austen's intentions as an author. And apparently, this is just the beginning. Next year, the first volume of Twain's autobiography will be published, as he requested, 100 years after his passing. $14, at Amazon

  • An Excerpt: Download three essays from Who is Mark Twain. (PDF)

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