Why is Mark Twain’s Autobiography Being Published Now?

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More than 100 years after the famed American author’s death, Mark Twain’s autobiography can finally hit bookstands.

Twain died on May 23, 1910, leaving behind more than 5,000 pages detailing his life in his own words, accompanied with the instructions that they not be published until a century had passed. Why the delay? Twain never gave an explanation, but scholars speculate it was a tactic to let Twain speak more candidly, both about his own friends and about politics.

And speak candidly he did. The manuscript is owned by the University of California, Berkley, and it contains some salacious details. Twain devotes some 400 pages to his relationship with Isabel Van Kleek Lyon, his secretary in his later years of his life. While she once bought Twain a sex toy — um, TMI, Mark — their relationship fell apart in later years, and Twain spends much of the section blasting her. “It really is 400 pages of bile,” says one historian to the Independent.

Expect to see copies in bookstores this November.

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