From the Publisher
"Magisterial....Extraordinary....Unprecedented in its reach and scope....A landmark work of scholarship that is also, remarkably, a pleasure to read."--Shelley Fisher Fishkin, general editor of the forthcoming series The Oxford Mark Twain
"Provides...thorough coverage of specific works and of both fictional and real people and places. The twenty-one-page index is remarkable for its degree of detail and its precision."--Books Bulletin
Amazingly a one-man work, this unobtrusively cross-referenced encyclopedia of Twainiana focuses not on the whys and hows but rather on the myriad whos, whats, and whens of Twain's life. From three lines to several pages, each detail-packed entry is a comprehensive piece of a prodigious life. Readers who want to know the origin of the term blatherskite (and precisely where Twain uses it in his fiction) or need a synopsis of every chapter in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (and its background and publication history) will find it here. Twain's literary characters, every fiction large and small, childhood friends in Hannibal, adult business associates, riverboats Twain piloted, inventions he tinkered with-all are covered. A fascinating and unique volume recommended for every library with a Twain collection. [The publisher also offers other "A to Z" encyclopedias on literary figures, most recently James Joyce and Virginia Woolf.-Ed.]-Charles C. Nash, Cottey Coll., Nevada, Mo.
The arrangement of entries in an alphabetic rather than topic- oriented format is clumsy, but this reference contains a great deal of information related to Twain's life and work in clearly written brief essays. The entries include written works--with synopses and summaries of publishing history; analytical discussions of characters; and identification of key people, places, and events in Twain's business, literary, and personal life. A chronology in tabular form displays year-by-year activities with regard to residence and travel, personal and business affairs, literary output, family & friends, and literary and historical events. Includes some b&w illustrations. 8.75x11.25" Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)