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A Companion to Mark Twain

Peter Messent (Editor), Louis J. Budd (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-2379-2
592 pages
January 2006, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Mark Twain (1405123796) cover image
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.
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Notes on Contributors x

Note on Referencing xvii

Acknowledgments xix

PART I The Cultural Context 1

1 Mark Twain and Nation 3
Randall Knoper

2 Mark Twain and Human Nature 21
Tom Quirk

3 Mark Twain and America's Christian Mission Abroad 38
Susan K. Harris

4 Mark Twain and Whiteness 53
Richard S. Lowry

5 Mark Twain and Gender 66
Peter Stoneley

6 Twain and Modernity 78
T. J. Lustig

7 Mark Twain and Politics 94
James S. Leonard

8 "The State, it is I": Mark Twain, Imperialism, and the New Americanists 109
Scott Michaelsen

PART II Mark Twain and Others 123

9 Twain, Language, and the Southern Humorists 125
Gavin Jones

10 The "American Dickens": Mark Twain and Charles Dickens 141
Christopher Gair

11 Nevada Influences on Mark Twain 157
Lawrence I. Berkove

12 The Twain-Cable Combination 172
Stephen Railton

13 Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, and Realism 186
Peter Messent

PART III Mark Twain: Publishing and Performing 209

14 "I don't know A from B" Mark Twain and Orality 211
Thomas D. Zlatic

15 Mark Twain and the Profession of Writing 228
Leland Krauth

16 Mark Twain and the Promise and Problems of Magazines 243
Martin T. Buinicki

17 Mark Twain and the Stage 259
Shelley Fisher Fishkin

18 Mark Twain on the Screen 274
R. Kent Rasmussen and Mark Dawidziak

PART IV Mark Twain and Travel 291

19 Twain and the Mississippi 293
Andrew Dix

20 Mark Twain and the Literary Construction of the American West 309
Gary Scharnhorst

21 Mark Twain and Continental Europe 324
Holger Kersten

22 Mark Twain and Travel Writing 338
Jeffrey Alan Melton

PART V Mark Twain' Fiction 355

23 Mark Twain's Short Fiction 357
Henry B. Wonham

24 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Prince and the Pauper as Juvenile Literature 371
Linda A. Morris

25 Plotting and Narrating "Huck" 387
Victor Doyno

26 Going to Tom's Hell in Huckleberry Finn 401
Hilton Obenzinger

27 History, "Civilization," and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court 416
Sam Halliday

28 Mark Twain's Dialects 431
David Lionel Smith

29 Killing Half A Dog, Half A Novel: The Trouble With The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson and The Comedy Those Extraordinary Twins 441
John Bird

30 Dreaming Better Dreams: The Late Writing of Mark Twain 449
Forrest G. Robinson

PART VI Mark Twain's Humor 467

31 Mark Twain's Visual Humor 469
Louis J. Budd

32 Mark Twain and Post-Civil War Humor 485
Cameron C. Nickels

33 Mark Twain and Amiable Humor 500
Gregg Camfield

34 Mark Twain and the Enigmas of Wit 513
Bruce Michelson

PART VII A Retrospective 531

35 The State of Mark Twain Studies 533
Alan Gribben

Index 555

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Peter Messent is Professor of Modern American Literature at Nottingham University. He is the author of The Short Works of Mark Twain: A Critical Study (2001), Mark Twain (1997), Ernest Hemingway (1992), and New Readings of the American Novel: Narrative Theory and its Application (1990), and editor of Criminal Proceedings: The Contemporary American Crime Novel (1997).

Louis J. Budd is James B. Duke Professor (Emeritus) of American Literature at Duke University, where he taught American Literature from 1981 to 1991. He is the author of Mark Twain: Social Philosopher (reissued 2001) and Our Mark Twain: The Making of his Public Personality (1983) and the editor of Mark Twain: The Contemporary Reviews (1999). He served as founding president of the Mark Twain Circle of America.

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  • 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.

  • Approaches Twain through six subject headings covering his background, his writings, and his place in American literary history.

  • A concluding essay evaluates the changing landscape of Twain criticism.
See More
"The editors have done an exemplary job in maintaining a very high level of scholarly excellence in almost all these contributions. On a vast range of subjects there is a plenitude here of scholarly research and insight, some of it at least exploring new ground …  and much of it proving illuminating and challenging." (Notes and Queries, June 2009)

"Highly recommended for the reference shelves of libraries collecting work on American literature and culture." (Reference Reviews)

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