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Mark Twain's literary criticism is a significant branch of his writing that is relatively less explored and appreciated than his other writing. Sydney Krause analyzes the full range of Twain's criticism, much of which has lain neglected in notebooks, letters, marginalia, and autobiographical dictations. This body of work demonstrates that, in addition to being an acute critic given to close reading, Twain thought enough of his criticism to present much of it in an enveloping literary form. In his early criticism Twain used the mask of an ignorant fool (or Muggins), while in his later criticism he used the mask of a world-weary malcontent (or Grumbler). The resulting cross fire from extremes of innocence and experience proved effective against a wide range of literary targets. The Muggins dealt mainly with theater, journalism, oratory, and popular poetry; the grumbler with such writers as Goldsmith, Cooper, Scott, and Hare. Much of this criticism was an outgrowth of Twain's romanticism and therefore has importance for the history of American realism. Mark Twain's criticism was not wholly depreciatory, however. He liked Macaulay, Howells, Howe, Zola, and Wilbrandt, for example, because he found in some of their works the realization of history as an immediate presence. The evidence presented in this book challenges the view that Twain was not a serious student of the craft of writing; he possessed the combination of sensitivity and judgment that all great critics have.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. New Copyright
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  1. Half Title
  2. p. i
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  1. Frontispiece
  2. p. ii
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  1. Title Page
  2. p. iii
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  1. Copyright
  2. p. iv
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  1. Dedication
  2. p. v
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. S.J.K.
  3. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Contents
  2. p. ix
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  1. Abbreviations
  2. p. xi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-17
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  1. PART I: Twain’s Early Criticism: The Critic as Muggins
  1. 1. Mark Twain and the Critical Fool
  2. pp. 21-27
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  1. 2. Theatrical Criticism: A Dude before Nudes
  2. pp. 28-45
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  1. 3. Extravagant Romanticism: Playing Dumb
  2. pp. 46-60
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  1. 4. Of Journalism and Art: A Mad and a Frustrated Fool
  2. pp. 61-81
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  1. 5. Of Poetry and Sunday-School Tales: Anger and the Fool
  2. pp. 82-96
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  1. PART II: Twain’s Later Criticism: The Critic as Grumbler
  1. 6. The Grumbling Mark Twain
  2. pp. 99-107
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  1. 7. Boys, Girls, and Goldsmith: Sense vs. Sensibility
  2. pp. 108-127
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  1. 8. Cooper’s Literary Offenses: Mark Twain in Wonderland
  2. pp. 128-147
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  1. 9. “The Sir Walter Disease”: A Sick South and Sickened Mark Twain
  2. pp. 148-189
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  1. 10. Bret Harte: The Grumbling Realist’s Friend and Foe
  2. pp. 190-224
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  1. PART III: Twain’s Appreciative Criticism: From History into Life
  1. 11. Macaulay: Living History by Antitheses
  2. pp. 227-245
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  1. 12. Howells and the Poetics of Appreciation
  2. pp. 246-259
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  1. 13. Howe and Zola: The Opposing Truth
  2. pp. 260-283
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  1. 14. Wilbrandt: The Tragic Conquest of Evil
  2. pp. 284-295
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 296-302
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 303-308
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781421434582
Related ISBN
9781421434575
MARC Record
OCLC
1128828291
Launched on MUSE
2019-11-26
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Funder
Mellon/NEH / Hopkins Open Publishing: Encore Editions
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-ND
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