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

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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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195078015
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/28/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • 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
1 The Emergence of Tall Narrative in American Writing 17
2 Mark Twain's Development as a Literary Yarn Spinner 51
3 Joyous Heresy: Travelling with the Innocent Abroad 70
4 The Tall Tale as Theme and Structure in Roughing It 89
5 The River as Yarn: "Old Times on the Mississippi" 112
6 The Contest for Narrative Authority in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 124
7 The Disembodied Yarn Spinner and the Reader of Huckleberry Finn 141
Conclusion: The Eclipse of Humor 161
Notes 179
Index 203
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