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, is still to at the present time some of the most enduring and cherished of America's nice writers. Combining cultural feedback with old scholarship, A ancient consultant to Mark Twain addresses quite a lot of themes correct to Twain's paintings, together with faith, trade, race, gender, social classification, and imperialism. like every of the old publications to American Authors, this quantity contains an creation, a quick biography, a bibliographic essay, and an illustrated chronology of the author's lifestyles and times.

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The lie thus points to a truth. 57 Left without work at the outbreak of the Civil War, Clemens returned to Hannibal in June  and helped organize the Marion Rangers, a ragtag troop of volunteers, who disbanded after a few weeks without seeing combat. Clemens was highly ambivalent about the war and seized on the opportunity to relocate to the remote Far West as assistant to his brother, Orion, who had been recently appointed secretary of the Nevada Territory. They left in mid-July, and after a month’s travel by boat and stagecoach, arrived in Carson City, Nevada.

William Dean Howells, My Mark Twain, in Literary Friends and  Mark Twain Acquaintance, ed. David F. Hiatt and Edwin H. Cady (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, ), p. . . Mark Twain-Howells Letters, ed. Henry Nash Smith and William M. Gibson (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, ), p. . . Henry Nash Smith, Mark Twain: The Development of a Writer (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, ), p. . . Andrew Hoffman, Inventing Mark Twain: The Lives of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (New York: William Morrow and Company, ), x, xiii.

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.

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