Traveling with the Innocents Abroad
Mark Twain's Original Reports from Europe and the Holy Land
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
348 Pages | 6 x 9 | 1 b&w illus.
Here, collected in book form for the first time, are the letters written by Mark Twain on the famous Holy Land Excursion of 1867—letters that Twain once said would ruin him if published. Twain, a brash young journalist with one book under his belt, was one of seventy-seven passengers on the steamship Quaker City when it left New York in June 1867, to begin “The Grand Holy Land Pleasure Excursion.” As special correspondent for the Daily Alta California, Twain wrote fifty letters during the next six months, describing in detail the places visited and the sights seen as the pilgrims journeyed from Tangier to Paris, then to Venice, Constantinople, and Bethlehem—with many stops in between.
Full of sprightly humor and savage satire, these letters also contain some of the most elegant vituperation ever to appear in an American newspaper. Twain later incorporated parts of the letters into The Innocents Abroad, probably the most famous travel book ever written by an American, but every letter was drastically revised to appeal to the more refined taste of eastern readers.
Daniel Morley McKeithan’s discussion of the alterations and deletions made in each letter throws light on Twain’s methods of composition and revision. Those who have read The Innocents Abroad and those who have not will find equal delight in this volume.