Robin Camille Davis
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Works of Mark Twain, Royal Edition

September 30, 2009
Tags: books

I found this 25-volume set of Mark Twain's Works at the Cellar Stories Sidewalk Sale over the weekend... for $25. Who's awesome? I'm awesome. This set is the "Royal Edition", featuring illustrations in each volume. It was published by the American Publishing Company in Hartford, Connecticut, between 1899 and 1907. According to the first page, it is the author's "authorized version," printed signature & all.

They're not in great shape, externally. I looked them up elsewhere on the web, and one Royal Edition was selling for £2,000 on a rare books website. (!!) That set, however, was in excellent condition, with marbled endpapers and a luscious leather binding. Mine are clothbound, and the only luxury the bookbinder spared was gilding the edges of each volume. Inside, though, they're pristine.

This might be the start of a book collecting phase of life. Before this, I have collected:

  • sea glass
  • button pins
  • keychains
  • decks of cards
  • & pressed pennies.

"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn." —Ernest Hemingway.

Professor Robin wants to know: How important do you think Mark Twain is to the American/global canon of literature?