Before he died, author Mark Twain made provision in his last will and testament that an autobiography he'd been working on for the last decade of his life was not to be released until he had been dead for a century. Twain passed away in 1910. Now that the hundred years has ellapsed, Twain's manuscript--along with handwritten notes--of five thousand pages is about to be released.
Until now, the University of California, Berkeley has had the manuscript in a vault per Twain's request. They are now planning on to release the first volume of what will ultimately be a trilogy, with a release date in November of this year.
Although, excerpts of the autobiography have appeared in print, showing up in various biographies, this will be the first time that the manuscript in its entirety will be released.
The autobiography is expected to show a different side of Twain than the crusty humorist. There are sections where Twain discusses friends, acquaintences, and others in very cruel terms. Mark Sheldon, author of recently published Man in White, a biography of Twain in the last years of his life, said about the autobiography, "He had doubts about God, and in the autobiography, he questions the imperial mission of the US in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. He's also critical of [Theodore] Roosevelt, and takes the view that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel. Twain also disliked sending Christian missionaries to Africa. He said they had enough business to be getting on with at home: with lynching going on in the South, he thought they should try to convert the heathens down there."
Dr. Robert Hirst is leading the Berkeley team, editing the text to prepare it for publication. "There are so many biographies of Twain, and many of them have used bits and pieces of the autobiography," Dr Hirst said. "But biographers pick and choose what bits to quote. By publishing Twain's book in full, we hope that people will be able to come to their own complete conclusions about what sort of a man he was."