Following the Equator

A Journey Around the World

Twain, Mark. Hartford, CT: The American Publishing Company, 1897. 1st edition, 1st state. B/w plates and cuts by various artists. Original blue cloth, with designs and a pastedown label. 712 pp. 8vo.

A hard-to-find true 1st edition from Twain, detailing his humorous adventures traveling the world. Original blue buckram with a Persian elephant illustration and embossed designs pasted on, and flourishes to the shelfback. Scattered rubbing to the extremities; page tops with scratches. Lacks a tissue-guard for the frontispiece; front hinge repaired; small tear to the groove. Else a very fine text block overall.

The book is an account of Twain’s travel published in 1897. It is a social commentary, critical of racism towards Blacks, Asians, and Indigenous groups; oppressive imperialism in the British Empire; and religious intolerance through missionary efforts.

Twain included a number of fictional stories in the body of what is otherwise a non-fiction work. In particular, the story of how Cecil Rhodes made his fortune by finding a newspaper in the belly of a shark, and the story of how a man named Ed Jackson made good in life out of a fake letter of introduction to Cornelius Vanderbilt, were anthologized in Charles Neider (ed) The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain, (Doubleday, 1957) where they are presented as fiction.

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