Constructing Mark Twain: New Directions in Scholarship

Front Cover
Michael J. Kiskis, Laura E. Skandera-Trombley
University of Missouri Press, 2001 - 252 pages
0 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified

The thirteen essays in this collection combine to offer a complex and deeply nuanced picture of Samuel Clemens. With the purpose of straying from the usual notions of Clemens (most notably the Clemens/Twain split that has ruled Twain scholarship for over thirty years), the editors have assembled contributions from a wide range of Twain scholars. As a whole, the collection argues that it is time we approach Clemens not as a shadow behind the literary persona but as a complex and intricate creator of stories, a creator who is deeply embedded in the political events of his time and who used a mix of literary, social, and personal experience to fuel the movements of his pen.

The essays illuminate Clemens's connections with people and events not usually given the spotlight and introduce us to Clemens as a man deeply embroiled in the process of making literary gold out of everyday experiences. From Clemens's wonderings on race and identity to his looking to family and domesticity as defining experiences, from musings on the language that Clemens used so effectively to consideration of the images and processes of composition, these essays challenge long-held notions of why Clemens was so successful and so influential a writer. While that search itself is not new, the varied approaches within this collection highlight markedly inventive ways of reading the life and work of Samuel Clemens.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Mark Twain and the Tradition of Literary Domesticity
Samuel Clemens as Family Man and Father
To his preferred friends he revealed his true character
Mark Twains Mechanical Marvels
Steamboats Cocaine and Paper Money
Mark Twain Isabel Lyon and the Talking Cure
The Minstrel and the Detective
Huck Jim and the BlackandWhite Fallacy
Black Genes and White Lies
Mark Twain in Large and Small

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 55 - Kent. Vex not his ghost. O, let him pass! He hates him That would upon the rack of this tough world Stretch him out longer.
Page 162 - Jim was most ruined for a servant, because he got so stuck up on account of having seen the devil and been rode by witches.
Page 55 - The weight of this sad time we must obey, Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
Page 178 - ... by and by you could see a streak on the water which you know by the look of the streak that there's a snag there in a swift current which breaks on it and makes that streak look that way...

References to this book

Mark Twain: A Biography
Connie Ann Kirk
No preview available - 2004

About the author (2001)

About the Editors

Laura E. Skandera Trombley is Vice President for Academic Affairs at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She is the author of numerous books, including Mark Twain in the Company of Women.

Michael J. Kiskis is Professor of American Literature at Elmira College in New York. He is the editor of Mark Twain's Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the "North American Review."

The Mark Twain and His Circle Series, edited by Tom Quirk and John Bird

Bibliographic information