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book offers close readings of writings that have been largely ignored, such as The Innocents Adrift manuscript and the unpublished chapters of A Tramp Abroad, combining literary analysis, socio-historical context and biographical research.
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 Acknowledgments Timeline of the Clemenses in France: 1867-1895
Introduction 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Octagon of Montmartre The American Colony and French Outings Mark Twain’s French Faces: The Carte de Visite Album The Unpublished French Chapters of A Tramp Abroad Marriage v. Mariage: The Unpublished Material “On Courtship and Marriage” “The French and the Comanches”: Historical Backdrop An American Corps of Civil Missionaries The Published French Chapters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 Arcin 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
Notes Bibliography Index