Collected Nonfiction, Volume 1: Selections from the Autobiography, Letters, Essays, and Speeches Volume 2: Selections from the Memoirs and Travel Writings . The first of two volumes collecting the major nonfiction by the "father of American literature": more than 150 letters, essays, and speeches selected to showcase the dazzling range of his interests and passions. Whether crossing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans or blazing through Europe and the Americas, Twain turned his trademark wit, candor, and acerbic sarcasm on all his experiences. We can trace his personal evolution through his ambition-filled missives home to Missouri after moving out West to be a fledgling reporter, his raucous stories of navigating a steamboat down the Mississippi, his romantic-turned-elegiac sentiments for his wife, Livy, and, later in life, his darker reflections on the ills of society. Often too outrageous not to be true, Twain’s real-life adventures added to his enduring legend, while his clear-eyed view of humanity has provided an unmatched blend of entertainment and moral integrity for generations of readers. Twain’s playful exuberance and remarkable storytelling gifts are on full display as he regales readers with real-life adventures in these rollicking, shrewd, and hilarious autobiographical works. In these pages, we follow him through his stint as a fledgling reporter out West to his attempt to navigate a steamboat on the Mississippi River, and all during his experiences as an irreverent and skeptical traveler through Europe and the Holy Land. Gleefully iconoclastic, whether he is puncturing the pretensions of others or aiming his satirical barbs squarely at himself, Twain also proves to be deeply compassionate, as fierce in his condemnation of injustice as he is skillful in mining the humor in human folly. Long hailed as “the Lincoln of our literature,” Twain harbored as rich and fertile a blend of contradictions as the dynamic nation he came to embody—and define.