By Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Mark Twain (born Samuel Clemens), a former printer's apprentice, journalist, steamboat pilot, and miner, is still to at the present time probably the most enduring and loved of America's nice writers. Combining cultural feedback with historic scholarship, A old advisor to Mark Twain addresses a variety of issues proper to Twain's paintings, together with faith, trade, race, gender, social category, and imperialism. like every of the ancient publications to American Authors, this quantity comprises an creation, a short biography, a bibliographic essay, and an illustrated chronology of the author's lifestyles and times.
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Extra resources for A Historical Guide to Mark Twain (Historical Guides to American Authors)
The community is a representative hierarchy, with the judge and the preacher at the top, teachers and merchants and the mass of respectable citizens in the middle, and drunkards like Pap Finn and Muff Potter joining the slaves at the bottom. The Clemens family occupied a number of houses in Hannibal, the most famous being the Mark Twain home at Hill Street, the small, two-story frame building visited by thousands annually. Sam attended several different schools and excelled at none of them—except in spelling—but made many friends, including Will Bowen, his best friend, and Tom Blankenship, the model for Huck Finn.
I was well frightened, and I made all the noise I could, but no one was near and it did no good. ”42 In fact, it was Orion who had been forgotten, not Sam; but the memory is faithful enough as testimony to the precarious inner life of a fragile child. Hannibal in was a prosperous frontier community, a “white town drowsing in the sunshine of a summer’s morning,” as Clemens recalls it in Life on the Mississippi, The streets empty, or pretty nearly so; one or two clerks sitting in front of the Water Street stores, with their splintbottomed chairs tilted back against the wall, chins on breasts, hats slouched over their faces, asleep—with shingle-shavings enough around to show what broke them down; a sow and a litter of pigs loaﬁng along the sidewalk, doing a good business in watermelon rinds and seeds; two or three lonely little freight piles scattered about the “levee;” a pile of “skids” on the slope of the stone-paved wharf, and the fragrant town drunkard asleep in the shadow of them; two or three wood ﬂats at the head of the wharf, but nobody to listen to the peaceful lapping of the wavelets against them; the great Mississippi, the magniﬁcent Mississippi, rolling its mile-wide tide along, shining in the sun.
Taking an active, well-publicized role in the production of the great Union hero’s Memoirs was gratifying to Clemens because it allowed him to approach symbolic parity with a man who had been heroic in the war from which he, by painful contrast, had ﬂed. In making a fortune for the dying warrior’s family, the publisher earned a kind of reprieve from the embarrassment of his youthful failure of nerve. A kindred redemptive impulse drives “The Private History of a Campaign that Failed,” Clemens’s contribution to a series on the Civil War published in Century Magazine.
A Historical Guide to Mark Twain (Historical Guides to American Authors) by Shelley Fisher Fishkin