Autobiography, 1791-1828 Benjamin Franklin

ISBN: 9780781228947

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Autobiography, 1791-1828  by  Benjamin Franklin

Autobiography, 1791-1828 by Benjamin Franklin
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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the traditional name for the unfinished record of his own life written by Benjamin Franklin from 1771 to 1790. Franklin himself appears to have called the work his Memoirs. Altho it had a tortuous publicationMoreThe Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the traditional name for the unfinished record of his own life written by Benjamin Franklin from 1771 to 1790. Franklin himself appears to have called the work his Memoirs. Altho it had a tortuous publication history after his death, this work has become one of the most famous & influential autobiographies ever written.Franklins account of his life is divided into four parts, reflecting the different periods at which he wrote them.

There are actual breaks in the narrative between the 1st three parts, but Part 3s narrative continues into Part 4 without an authorial break only an editorial one.The Autobiography remained unpublished during Franklins lifetime. In 1791, a 1st edition appeared, in French rather than English, as Mémoires de la vie privée de Benjamin Franklin, published in Paris. This translation of Part 1 only was based on a flawed transcript made of hi manuscript before hed revised it.

This French translation was then retranslated into English in two London publications of 1793. One of the London editions served as a basis for a retranslation into French in 1798 in an edition which also included a fragment of Part 2.The 1st three parts of the Autobiography were 1st published together (in English) by Franklins grandson, Wm Temple Franklin, in London in 1818, in Vol 1 of Memoirs of the Life & Writings of Benjamin Franklin.

W.T. Franklin didnt include Part 4 because he had previously traded away the original holograph of the Autobiography for a copy that contained only the 1st three parts. Furthermore, he felt free to make unauthoritative stylistic revisions to his grandfathers autobiography, & on occasion followed the translated & retranslated versions mentioned above rather than Franklins original text.W.T.

Franklins text was the standard version of the Autobiography for 50 years, until John Bigelow purchased the original manuscript in France & in 1868 published the most reliable text that had yet appeared, including the 1st English publication of Part 4.

In the 20th century, important editions by Max Ferrand & the staff of the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA (Benjamin Franklins Memoirs: Parallel Text Edition, 1949) & by Leonard W. Labaree (1964, as part of the Yale University Press edition of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin) improved on Bigelows accuracy. In 1981, J.A. Leo Lemay & P.M. Zall produced The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: A Genetic Text, attempting to show all revisions & cancellations in the holograph manuscript.

This, the most accurate edition of all so far published, served as a basis for Benjamin Franklins Autobiography: A Norton Critical Edition & for the text of this autobiography printed in the Library of Americas edition of Franklins Writings



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