''Littery Man'': Mark Twain and Modern Authorship by Richard S. Lowry

By Richard S. Lowry

As Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens straddled the conflicts among tradition and trade that characterised the period he named the Gilded Age. In "Littery Man", Richard Lowry examines how Twain used those conflicts in his significant texts to style an "autobiography of authorship," a story of his personal claims to literary authority at that second while the yank author emerged as a career. Drawing on wide variety of cultural genres--popular boys' fiction, childbearing manuals, trip narratives, autobiography, and feedback and fiction of the period--Lowry reconstructs how Twain participated in remaking the "literary" right into a robust social type of illustration. He indicates how, as one in every of our cultures first sleek celebrities, Samuel Clemens remodeled his lifestyles into the crafty functionality now we have come to understand as Mark Twain, and his texts right into a looking out critique of recent id in a mass-mediated society. "Littery guy" will attract either Twain students and to students and scholars of nineteenth-century American literature and tradition.

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''Littery Man'': Mark Twain and Modern Authorship (Commonwealth Center Studies in American Culture)

As Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens straddled the conflicts among tradition and trade that characterised the period he named the Gilded Age. In "Littery Man", Richard Lowry examines how Twain used those conflicts in his significant texts to style an "autobiography of authorship," a story of his personal claims to literary authority at that second whilst the yankee author emerged as a occupation.

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67 For Houghton, reverence thus served as the language of cultural publicity, the means whereby literature could enter the marketplace without being of the marketplace. More important, it joined most of those attending the dinner in a remarkably unified sense of value and purpose. For while Howells could distinguish "very well the difference between an author whom the Atlantic has floated and an author who has floated the Atlantic,"68 the guest list made no such distinctions of fame, including equally those who worked assiduously to create a canon and those who were targeted for canonization.

The result is neither an affirmation of reverent distinction nor an oppositional critique of it, but rather a narrative of posture and imposture generated by parody and held together by humor. What emerges is not so much an expression of cultural conflict as a tale that lays claims to being the site of that struggle; it is quite literally a contra-diction—a narrative speaking against itself. Twain's formal strategies, his art of humor, far from resolving the collisions of cultural languages, actually work to sustain them.

56 This language, in turn, reflected the rhetoric of The Rhetoric of Authorship 29 many of those who spoke at the banquet, honoring as it did more the men than their work. Josiah Gilbert Holland, the conservative editor of Scribner's, captured the language best when he sent his regrets in a letter (read aloud during the ceremonies) that traced the public influence of "these beloved and venerated poets" to their "simply . . "57 It was just this burden of reverence that Twain profaned—he later wondered "how I ever could have been inspired to do so unholy a thing"58—when he caricatured the poets.

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