“NO WEATHER WILL BE FOUND IN THIS BOOK”: FIRST EDITION OF TWAIN’S AMERICAN CLAIMANT
TWAIN, Mark. The American Claimant. New York: Charles L. Webster, 1892. Octavo, original gilt- and black-stamped olive-green cloth. $950.
First edition of Twain’s satirical take on technological advancement and social pretension, in original cloth.
The American Claimant introduces themes Twain would revisit throughout his career, including questions of identity, social pretensions, and contrasts between American and European manners. "One of Twain's most enduring creations, Colonel Sellers is a warm-hearted, generous optimist whose resilience and enthusiasm for grandiose schemes never flag" (Rasmussen, 426). Sellers debuted in the author's first novel, The Gilded Age (1873). Sellers is here a fantastic inventor whose projects include schemes "to materialize the dead, use sewer-gas for home lighting and manipulate sunspots to alter the earth's climate." He also claims to be the heir to an British earldom, revealing the novel's debt to Twain's "own family's possible claim, through his mother Jane Lampton, to the earldom of Durham… From time to time, one of the descendants in America pronounced himself the 'rightful heir' and sought (vainly) to establish his claim… There is evidence that Clemens was intrigued by the idea that he himself might have a claim to the earldom" (LeMaster & Wilson, 24). With advertisements. BAL 3434. Johnson, 53-54. MacDonnell, 49. McBride, 134. Contemporary owner gift inscription. Bookseller ticket.
Slight rubbing to cloth. Very nearly fine condition.