A tramp abroad (The writings of Mark Twain)
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Top Customer Reviews
Twain was interested in everything, probing into both well-known and obscure topics. His judgments are vividly conveyed in this book, standing in marked contrast to his more reserved approach in Innocents Abroad. A delightful overview of mid-19th Century Europe, Tramp is also interlaced with entertaining asides. Twain was deeply interested in people, and various "types" are drawn from his piercing gaze, rendered with acerbic wit. Some of these are contemporary, while others are dredged from his memories of the California mines and other journeys. He also relished Nature's marvels, recounting his observations. A favourite essay is "What Stumped the Blue-jays." A nearly universal bird in North America, Twain's description of the jay's curiosity and expressive ability stands unmatched. He observes such humble creatures as ants, Alpine chamois, and the American tourist. Few escape his perception or his scathing wit. This book remains valuable for its timeless rendering of characters and the universality of its view. It can be read repeatedly for education or entertainment. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
He does of course cover many factual elements, for example a particular town in Germany which I was able to look up on Google. The photographs show that it has not changed much since Mark Twain was there and his description still applies. Later in the book he cites a famous large painting (in a city in Italy) which again I was able to find on Google and I could follow his account of the various portions of the canvas.
Mixed in with the travelogue are stories of what has happened to him along the way, exaggerations of what may have happened to him, and downright tall stories of what is most unlikely to have happened to him. It is up to the reader to determine which is which. Added to this are acknowledged myths and legends from the current locality. It all makes for a rich and entertaining tapestry of wonderful narrative.
Mark Twain has the ability to make me laugh out loud. He describes in comical detail his excruciating experience of German Opera, his delight in hearing a piano played really badly in a hotel lounge, his infuriation at suffering from insomnia, and his fascination with the behaviour of the common ant - to name but a few instances.
Do not overlook the appendices when you reach the end of the main part of the book. His analysis there of the eccentricities of the German language is glorious and a gem in its own right.
This eBook version has some curiosities. There are the usual handful of printing errors that one might expect to have been eliminated by good proofreading.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful read. Some of it hilarious, but some not so much. But over all a real entertainment.Published 8 months ago by JOHN OLEARY
I have the paperback, but this is convenient to travel with. Witty and instructsivePublished 15 months ago by Bridge Rodking