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Note: this guide and all commentaries are also available as one PDF file (ca. 2 MB). They are not included in UC Press’s printed or electronic formats.

The general editorial policy of this critical edition is discussed in detail in the Note on the Text. This edition aims to present a text that reflects the author’s original inscription or dictation, altered by all subsequent authorial revisions that were not intended to shorten, soften, or otherwise adapt the text for magazine publication in the North American Review (NAR) or other journals. All revisions that Clemens did not initiate, but made at the prompting of his editors, are likewise rejected. The individual Textual Commentaries supplement the general policy: they provide detailed descriptions of the source documents, report all the textual variants among them, and record the readings supplied by the editors. In addition, the Commentaries report all of Clemens’s revisions on manuscripts, as well as all corrections and revisions that he inscribed on typescripts and on galley proofs of NAR installments. The marks of Clemens’s contemporary collaborators on the source documents are likewise quoted in full (with the exceptions noted below), whereas the markings that Paine and DeVoto wrote on the typescripts after Clemens’s death are not transcribed.

Source documents. All source documents are listed, including documents that were in the line of transmission of the texts but are now lost. Unless otherwise noted, all original source documents are in the Mark Twain Papers (CU-MARK). The typescripts of the 1906–9 Autobiographical Dictations (TS1, TS2, TS3, and TS4) are described fully in the Introduction and, more concisely, in the Note on the Text; these descriptions are not repeated in the individual commentaries. The extent of each witness is defined by a reference to the edited text, consisting of cues with opening and closing words and their associated page-and-line numbering. If no text cue is listed, the witness encompasses the entire dictation. Following the list of source documents is a discussion of pertinent information about each piece—its history of composition, transmission, and revision, and, in some cases, preparation for magazine publication. In these discussions, the apparatus entries mentioned can be located by searching within the pop-up window in which the Textual Commentaries are displayed. For example, to find Clemens’s revisions on TS3, search “TS3-SLC.” If one or more of the source documents was revised for publication in the NAR, the marginal notes made by Clemens, Paine, Harvey, and Munro are reported in tabular form. Notes on the NAR printer’s copy such as “Mark Twain” and “(To be Continued)”—which appeared at the end of nearly every installment—and miscellaneous notes made on the typescript versos are not listed in the table.

Revisions, variants adopted or rejected, and textual notes.

Each entry on this list consists of the reading of the present text, separated by a bullet from the readings of the source document or documents on the right, each of which is identified by its sigil, as defined in Source documents. All of the revisions on the source documents are reported, except for those that Paine and DeVoto made after Clemens’s death, when preparing their editions of the autobiography. Revisions are shown in plain text: inserted letters or words are surrounded with carets (caretlike thiscaret); deleted words are represented by horizontal strike-out lines (like this); and deleted letters are indicated by vertical slashes (like thiss). (This system of transcription is described in full in the Guide to Editorial Practice.) All revisions on manuscripts are Clemens’s, unless otherwise noted. The revisions on the typescripts are identified by Clemens’s initials, or the name of the reviser: “TS1-Harvey,” “TS2-SLC,” and “TS3-Munro,” for example, identify marks by George Harvey on TS1, Clemens on TS2, and David Munro on TS3. The entry associated with a reading is highlighted in the pop-up Textual Apparatus window.

hunky,   •   classes, carethunky,caret (MS)

joyous and   •   joyous, (TS4); joyous, caretandcaret (TS2-SLC); joyous and (NAR 12pf, NAR 12)

Ex-President Cleveland.   •   Ex-President Cleveland. (TS1); Ex-President Cleveland. caretupon his sixty-ninth birthday:caret (TS2-Harvey); ex-President Cleveland upon his sixty-ninth birthday: (NAR 7pf, NAR 7)

All variants in the source documents are reported, both of substantives (words) and of accidentals (punctuation, spelling, and other formal features), with the exception of those listed below by category in Silent emendations. It is necessary to review the list of variants to determine the source of the reading adopted in the text. If this reading is not among the variants listed, it has been supplied by the editors of this edition. The readings of the source documents are usually given in the order of historical occurrence—that is, a manuscript reading (if any) is listed first, followed by each subsequent text in the line of transmission. When feasible, the readings of the document that Clemens revised to serve as printer’s copy for the NAR are listed immediately before the readings in the NAR. Whenever an authoritative typescript is extant (such as TS1, TS2, and TS3), its variants are listed. The variants in TS4, which has less authority, are listed only if one of the other typescripts is missing or incomplete. Unless otherwise noted, Clemens used ink for his revisions and his collaborators used pencil. The medium of inscription, together with historical evidence, has often been the key to identifying the handwriting on the documents.

Textual notes explain editorial decisions and provide pertinent information about unusual features of the source documents. There are two types: 1) notes that comprise the entire entry and provide information about a single source document; 2) notes combined with a list of variants that supplements or explains one of the listed readings or gives information about editorial decisions.

flutter   •   [textual note: On the verso of MS page 17, which ends with this word, SLC wrote and deleted ‘Mrs.’]

served   •   served [‘served’ underscored] (TS1-SLC); served (TS2)

long . . . suspecting   •   long . . . suspecting (MS); [the typist of the missing TS erroneously omitted one MS line of text, probably because of an eye-skip]; suspecting (TS2, TS4, H)

Silent emendations. The following features have been corrected by the editors without being reported:

1) Ampersands are expanded to “and” in the texts and related apparatus entries, including ampersands in readings quoted from manuscript sources.

2) The titles, datelines, and summary paragraphs (in the Autobiographical Dictations) have been styled for consistency and may not reflect the typography and layout of the source documents; in addition, the punctuation of the summary paragraphs has been altered, where necessary, to accord with Hobby’s prevalent style.

3) The paragraphs in inserted letters are rendered consistently with standard indentations and do not necessarily represent the appearance of the original manuscripts.

4) Many of the typographical rules in the typescripts have been omitted from the text (the omission of rules from manuscript sources is reported).