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 at the present time the most enduring and cherished of America's nice writers. Combining cultural feedback with old scholarship, A historic advisor to Mark Twain addresses a variety of issues correct to Twain's paintings, together with faith, trade, race, gender, social type, and imperialism. like every of the historic courses to American Authors, this quantity comprises an creation, a quick biography, a bibliographic essay, and an illustrated chronology of the author's existence and times.

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The capacity crowd at Maguirre’s Academy of Music responded with vigorous laughter and applause to the lecturer’s drawling jokes and anecdotes, which were supplemented for “style” with florid descriptions of Sandwich Islands scenery. 62 Back once again in San Francisco, he was hired on attractive terms as a roving correspondent for the Alta California. Burlingame might have been pleased. Sam certainly was. “I am running on preachers,”63 he crowed to his family in a letter of  Mark Twain December , , indicating that as a celebrity he had ascended to an elite social sphere that included famous men of the cloth as its members.

When I was ten years old,” Clemens later recalled, while traveling in India, “I saw a man fling a lump of iron-ore at a slave-man in anger, for merely doing something awkwardly—as if it were a crime. It bounded from the man’s skull, and the man fell and never spoke again. He was dead in an hour. I knew the man had a right to kill his slave if he wanted to, and yet it seemed a pitiful thing and somehow wrong, though why wrong I was not deep enough to explain if I had been asked to do it. ”50 The brutalities of slavery were as much a part of life in Hannibal as the murders and stabbings and beatings regularly witnessed in the streets and along the river.

In , the year of his fiftieth birthday, Clemens reached his life’s zenith. ), and he was rolling in money. Huckleberry Finn and Grant’s Memoirs were both published that year; the lecture tour with Cable ended successfully (profitably); and the Paige typesetter still looked very promising. Money and good will were in such abundance that Clemens wrote to the dean of the Yale Law School on the day before Christmas and offered to pay the board of a black student, Warner T. 71 To be sure, there were successes aplenty still in store—much wealth, several important books (notably A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Pudd’nhead Wilson, Following the Equator, and The Mysterious Stranger), and ever-increasing fame and influence.

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