The Courtship of Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain

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Overview

Passionate readers both, Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain courted through books, spelling out their expectations through literary references as they corresponded during their frequent separations. Working with Langdon's own letters and diaries as well as Twain's, Harris traces the progress of their courtship within the larger context of Victorian American culture, showing how the couple negotiated their relationship through the mediums of literature, material culture, and social ...

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Overview

Passionate readers both, Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain courted through books, spelling out their expectations through literary references as they corresponded during their frequent separations. Working with Langdon's own letters and diaries as well as Twain's, Harris traces the progress of their courtship within the larger context of Victorian American culture, showing how the couple negotiated their relationship through the mediums of literature, material culture, and social and familial dynamics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Harris nimbly interweaving texts (letters, diaries) and contexts, dispels the mystery, bringing back the real Mrs. Twain: a woman of genuine intellectual reach, and a passionate reader in an era where that passion could itself be a kind of art." The New Yorker
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Product Details

Table of Contents

1. A commonplace book; 2. Philosophy and chemistry: science study in 1860s' Elmira; 3. Negotiating difference: love letters and love texts; 4. Conning books: Olivia Langdon and Samuel Clemens's joint reading; 5. Marriage.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Different View of Olivia Langdon and Sam Clemens

    Using recently discovered letters from Clemens to Langdon, the author reveals a much more complete picture of both. "Livy" was not the hypochondriac or Victorian prude she is often made out to be, nor was Twain an overbearing, domineering figure in their relationship. Both were interested in a relationship of equals with their differing gifts. Langdon's world was much more reform-minded and had more of an activist bent than most other authors have seen. Recommended for those who want to know more about either figure and their remarkable relationship.

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