Roughing It with Mark Twain

July 15, 2022

Roughing It with Mark Twain

Roughing It was Mark Twain’s second major work. It was inspired by his travels West to dig for wealth in the rocks of Nevada. Instead of finding wealth, he discovered the land as a writer and humorist and used it as inspiration for this prelude to The Innocents Abroad. The work covers the time between 1861 and 1867, a period of great growth for the nation. In 1867, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, an event which, Twain wrote his publisher, "has turned so much attention in that direction."

Roughing It examines the economic boom in the West and the effect it had on its people, though the tone is upbeat and humorous. The novel is enriched with stories of mishaps and errors of judgment inspired by Twain's experiences while traveling, as well as tales of animals he met along the way and detailed illustrations.

Mark Twain’s Roughing It, published in 1874 by the American Publishing Company

Twain wrote of the work: “It is a record of several years of variegated vagabondizing, and its object is rather to help the resting reader while away an idle hour than afflict him with metaphysics, or goad him with science. Still, there is information in the volume; information concerning an interesting episode in the history of the Far West, about which no books have been written by persons who were on the ground in person, and saw the happenings of the time with their own eyes.”

Roughing It provides another look at the growing American landscape during a crucial period in history. It serves as both a snapshot in time, as well as an example of Twain’s humorist style, which he later became famous for in his novels such as The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.






Also in Blog

Grosset & Dunlap: Book Publishers for the Masses and Film Buffs Alike
Grosset & Dunlap: Book Publishers for the Masses and Film Buffs Alike

February 21, 2024

In 1914, theAmerican book publishing company of Grosset & Dunlap publishers their first photoplay. Today, these vintage photoplay editions are tracked down by film buffs, bibliophiles, and book collectors. Photoplay editions were promotional movie tie-in books of the silent film and early sound era and Grosset & Dunlap monopolized this market in the 1920- 1940s. The most sought after photoplays are those tie-in editions for favorite films such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and King Kong, or lost films such as London After Midnight. Other collectors search for books featuring individual stars, like Lon Chaney or Boris Karlof. Read more about this creative and influential American book publisher on this week's blog. 

View full article →

Collecting Vintage Silver Keepsake Boxes
Collecting Vintage Silver Keepsake Boxes

February 16, 2024

Trinket or jewelry keepsake boxes have taken on many forms since their first conception in ancient times. However their purpose remains the same; to store jewelry and other items precious to the owner. We explore our collection of vintage silver keepsake boxes in this week's blog post. 

View full article →

Bleeding Kansas: The Eve of the Civil War
Bleeding Kansas: The Eve of the Civil War

February 09, 2024

Bleeding Kansas was a time of intense violence over slave and non-slave states in the mid 19th century. Read more about this period- what is known as the precursor to the Civil War.

View full article →