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A Family Sketch and Other Private Writings

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by Mark Twain, Livy Clemens, and Susy Clemens

This book publishes two of the most revealing of Mark Twain’s private writings. Here he reflects on the daily life he shared with his wife Livy, their three daughters, a great many servants, and an imposing array of pets. These first-hand accounts illustrate this gifted and loving family in the period of its flourishing.

Mark Twain began to write “A Family Sketch” in response to the early death of his eldest daughter, Susy, but the manuscript grew under his hands to become an exuberant account of the entire household. His record of the childrens’ sayings—“Small Foolishnesses”—is next, followed by the related manuscript “At the Farm.” Also included are selections from Livy’s 1885 diary and an authoritative edition of Susy’s biography of her father, written when she was a teenager. Newly edited from the original manuscripts, this anthology is a unique record of a fascinating family.