Constructing Mark Twain: New Directions in Scholarship

Constructing Mark Twain: New Directions in Scholarship

by Laura E. Skandera Trombley
     
 

ISBN-10: 0826213774

ISBN-13: 9780826213778

Pub. Date: 01/28/2002

Publisher: University of Missouri Press

The thirteen essays in this collection combine to offer a complex and deeply nuanced picture of Samuel Clemens. With the purpose of straying from the usual notions of Clemens (most notably the Clemens/Twain split that has ruled Twain scholarship for over thirty years), the editors have assembled contributions from a wide range of Twain scholars. As a whole, the

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Overview

The thirteen essays in this collection combine to offer a complex and deeply nuanced picture of Samuel Clemens. With the purpose of straying from the usual notions of Clemens (most notably the Clemens/Twain split that has ruled Twain scholarship for over thirty years), the editors have assembled contributions from a wide range of Twain scholars. As a whole, the collection argues that it is time we approach Clemens not as a shadow behind the literary persona but as a complex and intricate creator of stories, a creator who is deeply embedded in the political events of his time and who used a mix of literary, social, and personal experience to fuel the movements of his pen.

The essays illuminate Clemens's connections with people and events not usually given the spotlight and introduce us to Clemens as a man deeply embroiled in the process of making literary gold out of everyday experiences. From Clemens's wonderings on race and identity to his looking to family and domesticity as defining experiences, from musings on the language that Clemens used so effectively to consideration of the images and processes of composition, these essays challenge long-held notions of why Clemens was so successful and so influential a writer. While that search itself is not new, the varied approaches within this collection highlight markedly inventive ways of reading the life and work of Samuel Clemens.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826213778
Publisher:
University of Missouri Press
Publication date:
01/28/2002
Series:
MARK TWAIN & HIS CIRCLE Series
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction1
Mark Twain and the Tradition of Literary Domesticity13
Samuel Clemens as Family Man and Father28
"To his preferred friends he revealed his true character": Mary Mason Fairbanks's Disguised Debate with Sam Clemens50
Mark Twain's Mechanical Marvels72
Steamboats, Cocaine, and Paper Money: Mark Twain Rewriting Himself87
Mark Twain, Isabel Lyon, and the "Talking Cure": Negotiating Nostalgia and Nihilism in the Autobiography101
The Minstrel and the Detective: The Functions of Ethnic Caricature in Mark Twain's Writings of the 1890s122
Huck, Jim, and the "Black-and-White" Fallacy139
Humor, Sentimentality, and Mark Twain's Black Characters151
Black Genes and White Lies: Twain and the Romance of Race169
Mark Twain in Large and Small: The Infinite and the Infinitesimal in Twain's Late Writing191
Mark Twain Studies and the Myth of Metaphor203
"Who Killed Mark Twain?" Long Live Samuel Clemens!218
Works Cited227
Contributors239
Index243

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