Eve's Diary

"Eve's Diary" is a comic short story by Mark Twain. It was first published in the 1905 Christmas issue of the magazine Harper's Bazaar, and in book format in June 1906 by Harper and Brothers[1] publishing house.

Back to Eden
First edition book cover
AuthorMark Twain
IllustratorLester Ralph
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreHumor
PublisherHarper & Brothers
Publication date
1906
Media typePrint
Pages109 pp
Preceded byA Dog's Tale 
Followed by'King Leopold's Soliloquy 

Summary

It is written in the style of a diary kept by the first woman in the biblical creation story, Eve, and is claimed to be "translated from the original MS." The "plot" of this story is the first-person account of Eve from her creation up to her burial by her mate Adam, including meeting and getting to know him, and exploring the world around her, Eden. The story then jumps 40 years into the future after the Fall and expulsion from Eden.

It is one of a series of books Twain wrote concerning the story of Adam and Eve, including Extracts from Adam's Diary, 'That Day In Eden,' 'Eve Speaks,' 'Adam's Soliloquy,' and the 'Autobiography of Eve.' "Eve's Diary" has a lighter tone than the others in the series, as Eve has a strong appreciation for beauty and love.

The book may have been written as a posthumous love-letter to Mark Twain's wife Olivia Langdon Clemens, or Livy, who died in June 1904, just before the story was written. Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "'Eve's Diary' is finished — I've been waiting for her to speak, but she doesn't say anything more." The story ends with Adam's speaking at Eve's grave, "Wherever she was, there was Eden."

Illustrations

The book version of the story was published with 55 illustrations by Lester Ralph, on each left hand page. The illustrations depicted Eve and Adam in their natural settings. The depiction of an unclothed woman was considered pornographic when the book was first released in the United States, and created a controversy around the book. A library in Charlton, Massachusetts banned the book for the depictions of Eve in "summer costume."

When contacted Twain replied:

Two weeks later, after testifying before Congress, he elaborated as reported in the Washington Herald,

In a handwritten inscription in the front of at least one copy of the book, he wrote:

And in a letter to a friend, Harriett E. Whitmore, he commented:

References

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