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The Gilded Age and Later Novels
by Mark Twain and Hamlin Lewis Hill


Overview - "Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand," Mark Twain once wrote. In this sixth volume in The Library of America's authoritative collection of his writings-the final volume of his fiction-America's greatest humorist emerges in a surprising range of roles: as the savvy satirist of The Gilded Age , the brilliant plotter of its inventive sequel, The American Claimant , and, in two Tom Sawyer novels, as the acknowledged master revisiting his best-loved characters.  Read more...

 
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More About The Gilded Age and Later Novels by Mark Twain; Hamlin Lewis Hill
 
 
 
Overview
"Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand," Mark Twain once wrote. In this sixth volume in The Library of America's authoritative collection of his writings-the final volume of his fiction-America's greatest humorist emerges in a surprising range of roles: as the savvy satirist of The Gilded Age, the brilliant plotter of its inventive sequel, The American Claimant, and, in two Tom Sawyer novels, as the acknowledged master revisiting his best-loved characters. Also in this volume is the authoritative version of Twain's haunting last novel, No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger, left unpublished when he died.

The Gilded Age (1873), a collaboration with Hartford neighbor Charles Dudley Warner, sends up an age when vast fortunes piled up amid thriving corruption and a city Twain knew well, Washington, D.C., full of would-be power brokers and humbug. The novel also gives us one of Twain's most enduring characters, Colonel Sellers, who returns in The American Claimant (1892), an encore performance that moves beyond the worldly satire of its predecessor into realms of sheer inventive mayhem.

Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894) and Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896) extend the adventures of Huck and Tom. No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger (1908), an astonishing psychic adventure set in the gothic gloom of a medieval Austrian village, offers a powerful and uncanny exploration of the powers of the human mind.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781931082105
  • ISBN-10: 1931082103
  • Publisher: Library of America
  • Publish Date: January 2002
  • Page Count: 1053
  • Reading Level: Ages 18-UP
  • Dimensions: 8.16 x 5.29 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.52 pounds

Series: Library of America

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Books > Fiction > Classics

 
BookPage Reviews

Mark Twain: the unmistakable voice of an American original

His is the most famous phiz in American literature. With the overabundant mustache and unruly head of hair, the hawk eyes and hooked nose - not to mention the genteel suits and potent stogies - Mark Twain mixed an unmistakable personal image with literary genius in a way that made him one of our nation's first true celebrities. Now the subject of a new book, Mark Twain: An Illustrated Biography, the companion volume to the television series that airs this month on PBS, the inimitable author receives reverent treatment from Ken Burns and collaborators Geoffrey Ward and Dayton Duncan, who have worked with the filmmaker before on projects like The Civil War and The West. Celebrating Twain as novelist, journalist, humorist, creator of literary archetypes and founder of American letters, their latest endeavor honors a man who was unafraid to critique the politics and manners of the country he adored. Indeed - as the authors show - it seems that no writer ever loved America more. Who else but the man from Missouri would liken Venice to "an overflowed Arkansas town?" Or compare the Great Pyramid of Cheops to Hannibal's Holliday's Hill?

From his birth as Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, to his rowdy days as a bachelor-reporter, to his rise as a writer and the adaptation of his literary alter-ego, Mark Twain traces the arc of the author's personal and artistic lives, while telling the stories behind books such as Roughing It, The Innocents Abroad and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - all produced during years of success and tragedy, marriage and, of course, travel. Twain, whose itinerant tendencies surfaced early (he stowed away on a steamboat as a boy), viewed himself as a vagabond and a rover, an unregenerate rascal whom his beloved wife Livy would reform. His humility and self-effacement, as well as the enormity of his contribution to American literature, are wonderfully reflected in this tribute - a book that glitters with photographic gems, including pictures of the author at work, of his splendid Hartford, Connecticut, home, and close-up shots of his handwritten manuscripts.

Documents like Clemens' riverboat pilot's certificate, issued in 1859, and newspaper clippings - a snippet dated February 3, 1863, from Virginia City's Territorial Enterprise contains the first appearance in print of the name Mark Twain - are among the book's visual riches. The text draws on Twain's diaries and private correspondence, and offers contributions from writers Ron Powers and Russell Banks.

A novel collection

A master of satire as well as more sober-minded fiction, Twain - ever the intrepid explorer - was not afraid to test his powers in disparate literary genres. His versatility as a writer is demonstrated in the sixth volume of the Library of America's authoritative collection of his work. Mark Twain: The Gilded Age and Later Novels, edited by Twain scholar Hamlin H. Hill, includes the amusing title novel - a satirical take on Washington, D.C., bigwigs - and its sequel, The American Claimant; Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective; and the complete version of Twain's final book, No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger, a gothic adventure set (believe it or not) in a medieval Austrian village.

New spin on Huck Finn

Readers with a hankering for the more traditional Twain can try The Annotated Huckleberry Finn, the ultimate edition of a timeless classic. With notes by best-selling author Michael Patrick Hearn, this new version of the controversial narrative, originally published in 1885, contains archival photos and drawings, including maps of Hannibal, Missouri, and the Mississippi River, circa 1845. Hearn's thorough annotations, drawn from Twain's original manuscript, his revisions and correspondence, supplement the narrative. Reproduced for this edition, the novel's original illustrations by E. W. Kemble show an impish Huck, a raggedy Pap, a dour Miss Watson - distinctly American images that are almost as unforgettable as Twain's own.

 
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