A Historical Guide to Mark Twain (Historical Guides to by Shelley Fisher Fishkin

By Shelley Fisher Fishkin

Mark Twain (born Samuel Clemens), a former printer's apprentice, journalist, steamboat pilot, and miner, continues to be to today probably the most enduring and loved of America's nice writers. Combining cultural feedback with historic scholarship, A historic consultant to Mark Twain addresses quite a lot of issues suitable to Twain's paintings, together with faith, trade, race, gender, social category, and imperialism. like several of the ancient publications to American Authors, this quantity contains an advent, a quick biography, a bibliographic essay, and an illustrated chronology of the author's lifestyles and times.

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Little wonder that the burning tramp, and other similarly accusing figures, continued to haunt his dreams. There is little of slavery in Tom Sawyer, but it dominates Huckleberry Finn. That difference is an important key to the dramatic contrast in the tone and meaning of the two books. Slavery was certainly a central feature of Clemens’s boyhood in Hannibal. Jennie, the last of his father’s slaves, lived with the family for most of his childhood. Sam once looked on as his father flogged her for insubordination.

67 Clemens’s materialism—admittedly incongruous in a man who raged against the money-getting spirit of post-Civil War A Brief Biography  America—was clearly accountable for his incurable, and frequently disastrous, attraction to get-rich-quick schemes of every kind, including inventions and assorted business speculations. He developed a self-pasting scrapbook, owned patents on an adjustable garment strap and a board game, and showed interest in railroad steam brakes, specialized grape scissors, and an outdoor history “course” laid out with pegs, one foot per year, along his driveway.

Two years later, he accepted Clemens’s moving account of a slave mother’s sorrow, “A True Story,” for publication in the high-brow Atlantic Monthly, which he edited. Gratified by his elevation to the literary elite, and with Howells’s encouragement, Clemens next turned to “Old Times on the Mississippi,” a series of seven articles on his steamboating experiences which appeared serially in the Atlantic in . As a humorist and travel writer, he had clearly arrived. ” In , he contracted with James Redpath, the Scottish-born writer and founder of the Boston Lyceum Bureau, for a tour of the Northeast and Midwest.

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