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"Livy darling, it was flattering, at the Lord Mayor's dinner, tonight, to have the nation's honored favorite, the Lord High Chancellor of England, in his vast wig & gown, with a splendid, sword-bearing lackey, following him & holding up his train, walk me arm-in-arm through the brilliant assemblage, & welcome me with all the enthusiasm of a girl, & tell me that when affairs of state oppress him & he can't sleep, he always has my books at hand & forgets his perplexities in reading them!" (10 November 1872) On his first trip to England to gather material for a book and cement relations with his newly authorized English publishers, Samuel Clemens was astounded to find himself hailed everywhere as a literary lion. America's premier humorist had begun his long tenure as an international celebrity. Meanwhile, he was coming into his full power at home. The Innocents Abroad continued to produce impressive royalties and his new book, Roughing It, was enjoying great popularity. In newspaper columns he appeared regularly as public advocate and conscience, speaking on issues as disparate as safety at sea and political corruption. Clemens's personal life at this time was for the most part fulfilling, although saddened by the loss of his nineteen-month-old son, Langdon, who died of diphtheria. Life in the Nook Farm community of writers and progressive thinkers and activists was proving to be all the Clemenses had hoped for. The 309 letters in this volume, more than half of them never before published, capture the events of these years with detailed intimacy. Thoroughly annotated and indexed, they are supplemented by genealogical charts of the Clemens and Langdon families, a transcription of the journals Clemens kept during his 1872 visit to England, book contracts, his preface to the English edition of The Gilded Age, contemporary photographs of family and friends, and a gathering of all newly discovered letters written between 1865 and 1871. This volume is the fifth in the only complete edition of Mark Twain's letters ever attempted, and the twenty-fourth in the comprehensive edition known as The Mark Twain Papers and Works of Mark Twain.
Mark Twain, American Humorist examines the ways that Mark Twain’s reputation developed at home and abroad in the period between 1865 and 1882, years in which he went from a regional humorist to national and international fame. In the late 1860s, Mark Twain became the exemplar of a school of humor that was thought to be uniquely American. As he moved into more respectable venues in the 1870s, especially through the promotion of William Dean Howells in the Atlantic Monthly, Mark Twain muddied the hierarchical distinctions between class-appropriate leisure and burgeoning forms of mass entertainment, between uplifting humor and debased laughter, and between the literature of high culture and the passing whim of the merely popular.
This broad–ranging companion brings together respected American and European critics and a number of up–and–coming scholars to provide an overview of Twain, his background, his writings, and his place in American literary history. One of the most broad–ranging volumes to appear on Mark Twain in recent years Brings together respected Twain critics and a number of younger scholars in the field to provide an overview of this central figure in American literature Places special emphasis on the ways in which Twain′s works remain both relevant and important for a twenty–first century audience A concluding essay evaluates the changing landscape of Twain criticism
The classic London fogs—thick yellow “pea-soupers”—were born in the industrial age and remained a feature of cold, windless winter days until clean air legislation in the 1960s. Christine L. Corton tells the story of these epic London fogs, their dangers and beauty, and the lasting effects on our culture and imagination of these urban spectacles.
A provocative, exuberant, and deeply researched investigation into Mark Twain’s writing of America’s favorite icon of childhood, Huckleberry Finn: “A boldly revisionist reading of Twain’s Huckleberry Finn…Twain’s masterpiece emerges as a compelling depiction of nineteenth-century troubles still all too familiar in the twenty-first century” (Booklist, starred review). In the “groundbreaking” (Dallas Morning News) Huck Finn’s America, award-winning biographer Andrew Levy shows how modern readers have misunderstood Huckleberry Finn for decades. Mark Twain’s masterpiece is often discussed either as a carefree adventure story for children or a serious novel about race relations, yet Levy argues, it is neither. Instead, Huck Finn was written at a time when Americans were nervous about “uncivilized” bad boys, and a debate was raging about education, popular culture, and responsible parenting—casting Huck’s now-celebrated “freedom” in a very different and very modern light. On issues of race, on the other hand, Twain’s lifelong fascination with minstrel shows and black culture inspired him to write a book not about civil rights, but about race’s role in entertainment and commerce, the same features on which much of our own modern consumer culture is also grounded. In Levy’s vision, Huck Finn has more to say about contemporary children and race that we have ever imagined—if we are willing to hear it. An eye-opening, groundbreaking exploration of the character and psyche of Mark Twain as he was writing his most famous novel, Levy’s book “explores the soul of Mark Twain's enduring achievement with the utmost self-awareness...An eloquent argument, wrapped up in rich biographical detail and historical fact.” (USA TODAY). Huck Finn’s America brings the past to vivid, surprising life, and offers a persuasive argument for why this American classic deserves to be understood anew.

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