Mark Twain & France: The Making of a New American Identity

Mark Twain & France: The Making of a New American Identity

by Paula Harrington, Ronald Jenn


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Blending cultural history, biography, and literary criticism, this book explores how one of America's greatest icons used the French to help build a new sense of what it is to be “American” in the second half of the nineteenth century.

While critics have generally dismissed Mark Twain’s relationship with France as hostile, Harrington and Jenn see Twain’s use of the French as a foil to help construct his identity as “the representative American.” Examining new materials that detail his Montmatre study, the carte de visite album, and a chronology of his visits to France, the book offers close readings of writings that have been largely ignored, such as The Innocents Adrift manuscript and the unpublished chapters of A Tramp Abroad, combining literary analysis, socio-historical context and biographical research.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826221193
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
Publication date: 06/30/2017
Edition description: 1
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Paula Harrington is director of the Farnham Writers’ Center and an assistant professor of writing at Colby College. In 2013, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Paris, doing research that led to her collaboration with Jenn on this book. She lives in Portland, ME.

Ronald Jenn is a professor at Université de Lille, France. He is the author of La Pseudo-traduction, de Cervantès à Mark Twain. He lives in Lille, France.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Timeline of the Clemenses in France: 1867-1895

Chapter 1 Accounting for the Creoles: 1835-60
“Ambassador General to the World”
Early French Palimpsests
Twain, Parkman, and France in American History
The World at Hannibal’s Feet
Book-Learning and Early Reporting
New Orleans and Mardi Gras

Chapter 2 Leaving the River: 1861-66
French Encounters in the Sierra Days
Lewd Merchandise and a Hanging
Of Conquerors and Cannibals

Chapter 3 France for the First Time: 1867-69
Nobody’s Secretary
The Fourth of July to Quartorze Juillet
An “Innocent” Remakes His Experience
The Doctor and the Writer
The Making of a Novelist

Chapter 4 Jumping the French: 1870-78
The Last of the Newspapering Days
No Battle Yet!
Paris Was Never Situated This Way
Clawed Back Into a Civilized Language Once More

Chapter 5 Paris From the Inside: 1879
A Tramp in Paris
The Octagon of Montmartre
The American Colony and French Outings
Mark Twain’s French Faces: The Carte de Visite Album
The Unpublished French Chapters of A Tramp Abroad
Marriage v. Mariage: The Unpublished Material “On Courtship and Marriage”
“The French and the Comanches”: Historical Backdrop
An American Corps of Civil Missionaries
The Published French Chapters of A Tramp Abroad

Chapter 6 Less to Prove: 1880-92
“Mark Twain,” Un Fait Accompli
The Long European Tour
“Bon voyajj!”
The Innocents Adrift Versus “Down the Rhone”
Not So Dirty, Lazy, or Immoral After All
From Virgins to the Virgin

Chapter 7 Coming to Terms: 1893-99
A Home Base in France
Mark Twain, French Historian
Writing Joan of Arc—in France
Joan-less in Rouen
Paul Bourget: Bentzon Redux
Last Days in Paris
Back to the Frame: Sieur Louis De Conte
The End of the French Foil


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