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The American Claimant
     

The American Claimant

4.0 3
by Mark Twain
 

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The American Claimant is a comedy of mistaken identities and multiple role switches--fertile and familiar Mark Twain territory. Its cast of characters include an American enamored of British hereditary aristocracy and a British earl entranced by American democracy. The central character, Colonel Mulberry Sellers, is an irrepressible, buoyant mad scientist, Mason

Overview

The American Claimant is a comedy of mistaken identities and multiple role switches--fertile and familiar Mark Twain territory. Its cast of characters include an American enamored of British hereditary aristocracy and a British earl entranced by American democracy. The central character, Colonel Mulberry Sellers, is an irrepressible, buoyant mad scientist, Mason writes, "brimming with harebrained ideas. Nothing is impossible for him.... He's totally loopy." His voluble wackiness leaves the reader reeling in the wake of inventions that prefigure DNA cloning, fax machines, and photocopiers. Twain uses this over-the-top comic frame to explore some serious issues as well--such as the construction of self and identity, the role of the press in society, and the moral and social questions raised by capitalism and industrialization in the United States. A unique melange of science fiction and fantasy, romance, farce, and political satire, Twain's least-known comic novel is both thought-provoking and entertaining.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This 1892 novel is one of Twain's least-read works for a reason: a chaotic farce resurrected from a failed play, it simply doesn't read well in print. This first-ever audio recording of the title, however, is a revelation, showing the degree of difference a good audio production can make. Robustly narrated by veteran actor/Twain interpreter Richard Henzel (the radio DJ of Groundhog Day), its dialog-heavy pages spring to life, transforming hesitant chuckles to belly laughs as the irrepressible "Colonel" Sellers presses his claims to an English earldom. A real enhancement to Henzel's growing library of Twain recordings (www.richardhenzel.com/marktwain.html); an essential acquisition.—R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA

Product Details

BN ID:
2940023943121
Publisher:
Charles L. Webster
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
371 KB

Meet the Author

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 - 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer. Among his novels are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "The Great American Novel".
Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, which later provided the setting for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. After an apprenticeship with a printer, Twain worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to the newspaper of his older brother, Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In 1865, his humorous story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" was published, based on a story he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention, and was even translated into classic Greek. His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.
Though Twain earned a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, he invested in ventures that lost a great deal of money, notably the Paige Compositor, a mechanical typesetter, which failed because of its complexity and imprecision. In the wake of these financial setbacks, he filed for protection from his creditors via bankruptcy, and with the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers eventually overcame his financial troubles. Twain chose to pay all his pre-bankruptcy creditors in full, though he had no legal responsibility to do so.
Twain was born shortly after a visit by Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it", too. He died the day after the comet returned. He was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age", and William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature".
Twain began his career writing light, humorous verse, but evolved into a chronicler of the vanities, hypocrisies and murderous acts of mankind. At mid-career, with Huckleberry Finn, he combined rich humor, sturdy narrative and social criticism. Twain was a master at rendering colloquial speech and helped to create and popularize a distinctive American literature built on American themes and language.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
November 30, 1835
Date of Death:
April 21, 1910
Place of Birth:
Florida, Missouri
Place of Death:
Redding, Connecticut

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The American Claimant 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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