Mark Twain on Travel

Overview

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known to most as Mark Twain, was a quintessential American writer who spent much of his life traveling around the world. Along the way, he encountered colorful characters, strange cultures, and a variety of adventures (and misadventures), all of which he incorporated into his travel writing?writing that reflects Twain?s matchless eye for irony, humor, and, now and then, tragedy.

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Overview

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known to most as Mark Twain, was a quintessential American writer who spent much of his life traveling around the world. Along the way, he encountered colorful characters, strange cultures, and a variety of adventures (and misadventures), all of which he incorporated into his travel writing—writing that reflects Twain’s matchless eye for irony, humor, and, now and then, tragedy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Prescient, ironic, frequently knee-slapping, Twain's work is eminently relevant."—Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly
Selections from Twain's five travel books (about excursions to the American West, the Pacific Islands, India, the Middle East and Europe) spotlight some of his choicest writing, though they lose his rich, digressive context. With the success of Innocents Abroad in 1869, Twain churned out travelogues for much-needed money, and refined the successful formula of pitting gullible middle-American protagonists against hardened high priests of the world's culture. Mort (The Reasonable Art of Fly Fishing) presents Twain's writing by themes, rather than chronology, starting with a boy's ambition to pilot the Big River of his youth, the Mississippi; Twain claims in one famous selection from Life on the Mississippi that he took his nom de plume from an ancient mariner who could best the gossiping fledglings by his reminiscences. Heading west into Nevada, Twain's young, unsuspecting narrator is swindled into buying a "Genuine Mexican Plug," among other dusty adventures. A journey to Australia (from Following the Equator) allows him to ponder racial genocide by the white squatters in Aboriginal land; while observing the caste system of India ("With them, all life seems to be sacred except human life") evokes childhood memories of the scarring injustice of Southern slavery. Prescient, ironic, frequently knee-slapping, Twain's work is eminently relevant. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Mark Twain wrote in a time when travel to foreign lands was an often dangerous adventure generally unavailable to most. His astute observations of human behavior and, most of all, his humor, make these writings as lively and compelling for the modern reader as they were for his contemporary audience. Culling from Twain's five travel volumes (The Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, A Tramp Abroad, Life on the Mississippi, and Following the Equator), Mort (The Reasonable Art of Fly Fishing) has arranged these excerpts in and around Twain's world journey, which began on the Mississippi, headed west to the Pacific (Australia, India), carried on to the Middle East, and concluded in Europe. Twain's descriptions of India-colorful, crowded, and endlessly surprising-are particularly vivid, as is his donkey ride to the great pyramids of Egypt, where he tries to bribe an insistent pest of a tour guide to jump off the top. These brief selections are likely to leave the reader wanting the original works. Recommended for public libraries that do not own the complete volumes.-Linda M. Kaufmann, Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts Lib., North Adams Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599210742
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2007
  • Series: On Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Mort is the author of The Reasonable Art of Fly Fishing. He is also the editor of Zane Grey on Fishing and Jack London on Adventure. He lives in Sonita, Arizona.

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