One of our most distinguished biographers offers a bold, revisionist view of the inimitable Mark Twain. Mark Twain invented American literature. His humor, his fearless evocation of how ordinary people live and speak, his ferocious social criticism, all make him the progenitor of a truly national literature. And his extraordinary books--including ...
One of our most distinguished biographers offers a bold, revisionist view of the inimitable Mark Twain. Mark Twain invented American literature. His humor, his fearless evocation of how ordinary people live and speak, his ferocious social criticism, all make him the progenitor of a truly national literature. And his extraordinary books--including "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Gilded Age, Innocents Abroad, Life on the Mississippi"--were drawn from his extraordinary life. Based on original research, including access to previously unpublished correspondence, "The Singular Mark Twain" presents the first fully integrated portrait of this great American icon. Few Americans, let alone American writers, lived such a large and eventful life. From his idyllic Hannibal, Missouri, childhood to his days as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi, from his wildcat-mining life in the Nevada territory to his reporting job in wide-open Barbary Coast San Francisco, Twain's early life was one of restless adventure. He traveled the world, and his dispatches to the United States made him famous, and wealthy. With maturity and success, Twain grew tremendously as an artist and as a social critic. Fred Kaplan shows definitively that Twain's ferociously progressive ideas about race informed all his later works and absolve him from absurd charges of racism laid in recent years. Kaplan also details the darker side of Twain's story--the illnesses and death that plagued his family and darkened his vision, his almost comically terrible business sense that lost him his great fortune, and his paranoid sensitivity to slights and betrayals. No American writeris more appealing, funnier, or more universally admired than Mark Twain. "The Singular Mark Twain" brings him to life as never before. Like the bestselling books of H.W. Brands, David McCullough, and Edmund Morris, "The Singular Mark Twain" is a masterful blend of history and biography, at once erudite, eye-opening, and highly entertaining.
Good. Ex-Library. Cover is clean, may show light shelf edge wear or corner bumps. Binding appears gently read, but still square and tight. Pages may contain former owner name or book plate and light reading wear.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-09-01 Biographers have always found plenty to say about the life of Samuel Clemens (1835-1910). Kaplan's well-drawn life of America's beloved humorist and closet misanthrope is the latest in that regular flow, which began almost immediately after his death. Dictating the autobiography that was published only posthumously, Clemens observed, "I think we never become really & genuinely our entire & honest selves until we are dead-and not then until we have been dead years & years." With this perspective, Kaplan does not impose a path or goal on Clemens's picaresque and opportunistic career, merely noting his belief in luck throughout. If Clemens had not failed to find regular employment as a typesetter in Philadelphia, establish himself as a river pilot on the Mississippi before the Civil War or strike it rich as a prospector in Nevada, Mark Twain would not have emerged as the pen name for humorous articles in newspapers out west or a stage name for comic lectures back east. The surprising, reputation-making successes of The Celebrated Jumping Frog and Innocents Abroad was later matched by the failures of his publishing and printing ventures and the deaths of two of his daughters and his wife. Although Mark Twain would always be viewed popularly as a humorist, Kaplan highlights Clemens's all-American skepticism and his late-developing progressive attitudes on race relations and imperialism. Kaplan's readable and sympathetic work celebrates Sam Clemens (and the inspiring minor personages in his life) over the celebrity figure of Mark Twain, even as he asserts their ultimate unity. (On sale Oct. 21) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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