Author: Samuel "Mark Twain" Clemens Title: The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims' Progress Publication Date: 1869 I own this edition but I read The Innocents Abroad as it appears in The Oxford Mark Twain collection. This edition, published by The Library of America (L.O.A.), is a quality copy, just like the rest of the series. Currently, there is an offer for a three-volume set of Steinbeck or Twain in vanilla slipcases under $10. Like I mentioned before, it has pictures; the whole book is a facsimile of the very first edition, which contained black and white cartoon sketches subtitled by Twain himself. It's plain to see how the public fell in love with Twain via this edition. These headers are listed in The L.O.A. edition's table of contents, but the pages themselves give only the title and chapter. The times I fell asleep reading it, Twain's images slipped into my nightmares. A hungry Twain tours Europe and the Holy Land, by boat and mule respectively, and he makes fun of everyone and everything along the way, as a child might, without regard--not even for himself. By this time, he's already travelled a great deal of America and absorbed its natural wonders, so his Great American Ego is rarely impressed by what he sees in the Old World, by comparison. He makes the most pitiful scenes oddly amusing so you don't know whether to laugh or feel sorry. Outside of Damascus, he has this to say about local health care: "The little children were in a pitiable condition -- they all had sore eyes, and were otherwise afflicted in various ways. I think this must be so, for I see plenty of blind people every day, and I do not remember seeing any children that hadn't sore eyes. And, would you suppose that an American mother could sit for an hour, with her child in her arms, and let a hundred flies roost upon its eyes all that time undisturbed? But when we drew near, we saw that the goggles were nothing but a camp meeting of flies assembled around each of the child's eyes, and at the same time there was a detachment prospecting its nose. The flies were happy, the child was contented, and so the mother did not interfere." (Chapter 45) Twain deliberates on bizarre topics such as the reputation of the starving dogs of Constantinople and the city's remarkable class of cripples: "A beggar in Naples who can show a foot which has all run into one horrible toe, with one shapeless nail on it, has a fortune--but such an exhibition as that would not provoke any notice in Constantinople.
If you are interested academically in Twain's development as a writer, or in American attitudes toward foreigners in the post-Civil War period, this may be an important book to read; but if you're looking for Twain's humor, it is probably not one that should be high on your list.
I loved reading about points that I now know as history, were things he saw first hand.
Maybe I only like liking Mark Twain.
He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Twain had found his calling. He was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age", and William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature".