“You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda.” ~ Mark Twain


150 Years of Mark Twain & Bermuda By Martin Buckley, Department Manager, The Bookmart at Brown & Co.

2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the first visit to these Islands by Mr Samuel Clemens, better known of course as the celebrated American writer and wit, Mark Twain.

Twain’s first sojourn was in 1867, when he stayed here for four days whilst returning from a tour of the Holy Land.  As so many visitors have before and since, he fell in love with Bermuda and returned no less than 7 times.

The Bookmart at Brown & Co. has several titles which celebrate Twain’s love affair with ‘Bermooda’ and which will delight his fans and casual readers alike.

Mark Twain in Paradise.  His Voyages to Bermuda, Donald Hoffmann:
This is perhaps the definitive work on Twain and his relationship with these Islands.  It portrays both the man and the place and looks at what brought him here, why he returned so often, how long he stayed, how he spent his time and with whom, how he was received and what he had to say about ‘Bermooda’ and ‘Bermoodan’s’.  Much of what Twain saw and loved is still as it was and the book contains many photographs, not least of which is one showing the building on Front Street in which I am typing right now!

Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion, Mark Twain:
First published in 1877, just after Twain’s visit in the May of that year, this is a charming little book full of amusing observations.  My personal favourites are ‘Bermudians lean upon barrels because of the scarcity of lamp-posts’ and ‘There are several {tourist} “sights” in the Bermudas, of course, but they are all easily avoided’.

Mark Twain and the Happy Island, Elizabeth Wallace:
Written in 1913, Elizabeth Wallace’s book is now available as a facsimile of the copy originally deposited in the New York Public Library.  The book contains numerous recollections and anecdotes primarily from Twain’s last visit to Bermuda, which took place shortly before he died in 1910.  It is unashamedly affectionate towards both Twain and the Bermuda he so adored.

If you’re interested in the life of Samuel Clemens and in the writings of Mark Twain, you will also enjoy two works of fiction featuring him, which have been published recently.  ‘Twain and Stanley enter Paradise’ by Oscar Hijuelos and ‘Twain’s End’ by Lynn Cullen – both are available here at The Bookmart at Brown & Co.

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