Mark Twain and the Art of the Tall Tale / Edition 1

Mark Twain and the Art of the Tall Tale / Edition 1

by Henry B. Wonham
     
 

Mark Twain and the Art of the Tall Tale is a study of a peculiar American comic strategy and its role in Mark Twain's fiction. Focusing on the writer's experiments with narrative structure, Wonham describes how Twain manipulated conventional approaches to reading and writing by engaging his audience in a series of rhetorical games—the rules of which he adapted

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Overview

Mark Twain and the Art of the Tall Tale is a study of a peculiar American comic strategy and its role in Mark Twain's fiction. Focusing on the writer's experiments with narrative structure, Wonham describes how Twain manipulated conventional approaches to reading and writing by engaging his audience in a series of rhetorical games—the rules of which he adapted from the conventions of tall tale in American oral and written traditions. Wonham goes on to show how Twain's appropriation of the genre developed through the course of his career, from The Innocents Abroad to Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Pudd'nhead Wilson. This eminently readable study will interest Twain enthusiasts and students of nineteenth-century American literature, as well as anyone interested in American humor and oral narrative traditions.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195078015
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/28/1993
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: "The World Is Grown Too Incredulous"3
1The Emergence of Tall Narrative in American Writing17
2Mark Twain's Development as a Literary Yarn Spinner51
3Joyous Heresy: Travelling with the Innocent Abroad70
4The Tall Tale as Theme and Structure in Roughing It89
5The River as Yarn: "Old Times on the Mississippi"112
6The Contest for Narrative Authority in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer124
7The Disembodied Yarn Spinner and the Reader of Huckleberry Finn141
Conclusion: The Eclipse of Humor161
Notes179
Index203

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