Mark Twain: A Short Introduction / Edition 1

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This book introduces Mark Twain through close readings of his seven major works, including Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Connecticut Yankee and Pudd’nhead Wilson.

  • Introduces Mark Twain through close readings of his seven major works, including Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Connecticut Yankee and Pudd’nhead Wilson.
  • Investigates the tension between the real-life person, Samuel Clemens, and the fictional person, Mark Twain.
  • Provides an original reading of Twain’s obsession with performance and popularity.
  • Analyses the significance of Twain’s books for American culture and identity.
  • Illustrated with images from first editions of Twain’s works.
  • A short appendix directs readers to the author’s award-winning website on ‘Mark Twain in his Times’.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A concise, yet amazingly rich, informative, well-researched, and readable introduction to Mark Twain's major works, from Innocents Abroad to Pudd'nhead Wilson. In his fresh and helpful interpretations Stephen Railton, developer of the popular website ‘Mark Twain in His Times,’ provides relevant biographical and historical backgrounds and incorporates a broad spectrum of criticism." Werner Sollors, Harvard University

"Stephen Railton offers a highly readable and crisply argued discussion of Samuel Clemens' literary persona Mark Twain as public performance and of the relationship Clemens nurtured and continues to nurture with his readers...A most useful primer in the social and aesthetic impact of Mark Twain's art." Michael J. Kiskis, Elmira College

"Even though Mark Twain (as Samuel Clemens) did die, Railton's book by its very existence proves that Mark Twain still lives, in his works, the legacy of his life, nearly ninety-four years after his physical demise. Mark Twain is dead. Long live Mark Twain!" Mark Twain Forum

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Stephen Railton is Professor of English at the University of Virginia. His previous books include Fenimore Cooper: A Study of his Imagination (1978) and Authorship and Audience: Literary Performance in the American Renaissance (1991). He is the creator of two major websites on Uncle Tom’s Cabin & American Culture and Mark Twain in His Times.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures.


1. Going East: Innocents Abroad.

2. Going West: Roughing It.

3. Going Home: Tom Sawyer.

4. Running Away: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

5. Lost in Time: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Cour.

6. Looking for Refuge – Pudd’nhead Wilson and “Hadleyburg”.

Appendix: Mark Twain in His Times: An Electronic Archive.



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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2004

    Great Overview and Introduction

    This book was an incredbly helpful overview to Twain, his life, and his work. I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the intriguing author, and for scholars and novices alike.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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