The Art of Book Design: Eve’s Diary

Mark Twain. Eve’s Diary. Illustrated by Lester Ralph. London and New York, Harper and Bros., 1906.

Today’s Mark Twain is one of my favourite books, Eve’s Diary. It’s nothing like Adam’s Diary, which I posted yesterday. Everything about it is unique. The artwork is softer and evocative and involves you in the story on an emotional level. The book is brilliantly illustrated by Lester Ralph in the Art Nouveau style, and every page has a charming illustration. I chose a few of my favourites to share with you below, but it was hard to limit myself.

It isn’t just the artwork that sets Eve’s Diary apart. The story is also told in a different style. Eve speaks with a sense of wonder and curiosity that is captivating and utterly charming. The book also has one of the most poignant and beautiful endings I’ve encountered. I encourage you to read this book. It’s wonderful.

That’s my copy of Eve’s Diary in the picture. (Sorry it’s a bit fuzzy – I’m hopeless using my phone camera) It was a gift from Marcus, and I treasure it. Marcus shared with me that Twain had just lost his wife and his daughter around the time of writing Eve’s Diary. It gave the book more depth for me, so I’m sharing it with you.

The illustrations are from The Internet Archive, where you can read the book. Enjoy.

Eve’s Diary, page 2.

Eve’s Diary, page 10.

Eve’s Diary, page 14.

Eve’s Diary, page 30.

Eve’s Diary, page 36.

Eve’s Diary, page 38.

Eve’s Diary, page 42.

Eve’s Diary, page 48.

Eve’s Diary, page 60.

Eve’s Diary, page 72.

Eve’s Diary, page 82.

Eve’s Diary, page 86.

Eve’s Diary, page 94.



  1. says

    Christians arranged to burn piles of that 1st edition because Eve was pretty and naked. You know, like in their scripture?

    Copies sometimes turn up on ebay at affordable prices, and it’s one of the most giftable special things I know of.

  2. DonDueed says

    I took your advice and read it. Wonderful, moving, and sad.

    I’m not crying, you’re crying.

  3. brucegee1962 says

    Mark Twain is a national treasure.

    When someone asked him about the criticisms of the book from librarians, he said “the truth is, that when a Library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected youth and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn’t anger me.”

  4. dakotagreasemonkey says

    Overall, my favorite of these shown today, is of Eve tickling the vegetarian dinosaur with a stick!
    They have obviously been playing together for quite a while, as the “brontosaurus” is so delighted to be tickled, It has rolled on it’s back,
    The “Pure Trust” that requires of any animal, and the Joy of being that trusted, and trusting, is the epitome of the true meaning of innocence!
    Both animals are Naked, in their true forms of innocence.
    That any “religious practitioner”, would condemn and burn such a depiction of innocence, just confirms that it is religion that is evil, and embraces evil, while pretending to be pure.
    That re-action to this drawing is the classic “Bait and Switch” tactic of any fraud.
    In history, Religion has been the most profitable scam ever perpetrated on the species of Man, with many other lifeforms sacrificed in it’s (dis)Honor.
    I am truly delighted to see such innocence depicted so clearly!

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