Mark Twain's Extracts From Adam's Diary; In the rare original dust jacket
Extracts From Adam’s Diary.
Item Number: 68023
New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1906.
First edition, early printing with frontispiece and 44 full-page whimsical, faux-cuneiform tablet illustrations by Fred Strothmann. Octavo, original pictorial cloth. Near fine in the rare original dust jacket with wear and tear.
“The Adamic diaires are, in form and tone, sophisticated folktales, and they embody a major strand in Twain’s complex tapistry of artistic devices, patterns and ‘mythic’ imagery. They serve not only as seemingly naive (or radically innocent) commentaries on one of the most influential stories in Western literature and religion but also supply an imaginatively instructive alternative for his readers to the Sunday school Bible images that Twain had rejected as he gradually emancipated himself from the Presbyterian fundamentalism of his youth” (LeMaster & Wilson, 274). “This simple text, originally about 4000 words in length, has had a complex publishing history that has produced multiple versions. Mark Twain wrote his original draft sometime before early 1893. When he was invited to contribute a humorous piece to the Niagara Book, a souvenir publication for the 1893 Buffalo World’s Fair, he reworked his Adam material by placing Eden at Niagara Falls and working in local Buffalo place names, such as Lake Erie and Tonawanda… In April 1904 Harper published [this first book edition of] Extracts from Adam’s Diary as an 89-page book, using the Niagara Book version and adding illustrations by Fred Strothmann. The following year, Mark Twain rewrote the story, removing all references to Niagara so it could be merged into Eve’s Diary” (Rasmussen, 133-34).