Historical complications[ edit ] The early history of the Bowie knife is complicated by murky definitions, limited supporting documentation and conflicting claims.
After that time, his work takes on a much darker hue. Twain was, however, always more than simply a comic entertainer, and it should be remembered that as early as The Innocents Abroad, he responds to human error, on occasion, with quick satiric thrusts that remind one of eighteenth century English satirist Jonathan Swift.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is reasonably free from such tonal darkening, but Adventures of Huckleberry Finn certainly is not. It is, therefore, unwise to simplify the tonal range of his oeuvre. If he is most often seen as a humorist, and often as a romantic, especially about boys and life on the Mississippi, he is often more than that.
In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, his best work, tonal and intellectual range is very wide indeed, leaning strongly toward serious concern about human conduct. There are ideas in that novel that Twain wants to disturb his readers quite as much as they bother Huck.
Perhaps an ambition to become a writer of ideas was his from the start. Twain had an eye for hypocrisy, self-interest, and pomposity, however, and his main characters, if sometimes less clever than he himself was, could not be fooled for long, even if they could be misled initially out of innocence.
He certainly could have played it safe and been satisfied with a minor, lucrative career as a funnyman, but The Innocents Abroad showed that he could sustain a larger literary shape and, more important, that he had some things to say about human nature which could not be satisfied in the short comic story.
The success of that work might have satisfied a lesser man and led him into a long career of repetition of the same kind of sweet-natured appreciations of childhood. The Prince and the Pauper looks by its title to be in that pattern, but it is loaded with comments about human stupidity and cruelty.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, finally out inshows a further refinement and has been recognized not simply as one of the finest juvenile novels, not simply as a book of social comment, but as one of the greatest books of American fiction.
Twain was never to write a better book, but he did not rest with it. Sometimes the ideas get out in front of the fiction; this is often the case when he lets himself be personally moved by the subject. Certainly the tale is moderately amusing, but it seemed to catch the imagination of the American reader, and Twain was to follow it up with equally artful stories and lecture tours which were to make him well known some time before the artistic success of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Part of the reason for the success of the story lies in its moderation, its seeming lack of artfulness. Good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler tells the story to the unsuspecting Mark Twain, who is, in fact, trying to find out about an entirely different man, the Reverend Leonidas W.
What he gets is a rambling, disjointed, ungrammatical tale of Jim Smiley, who sometime back in or had provided the locals with entertainment with his antics as a gambler. Style is a strong element in the power of the tale. Twain sets himself up as the straight man for the dead-panned raconteur, who, once he gets started, is impossible to stop.
Twain the character provides part of the amusement in his indignation. His letter to A. The style of the first paragraph of the letter has a kind of prim formality about it and the sophisticated facility of an educated writer barely able to suppress his grudging suspicion that he has been made the fool.
This style of fastidious restraint continues, but when Wheeler begins to speak, the prose relaxes into a homey, genial vulgarity and sly wit which immediately establishes the old man as a master teller of tall tales.
Whether the story is true hardly matters; its real power lies in the telling. Twain shows equal skill in the dialogue between Smiley and his supposed victim. Beyond its technical cleverness, however, the popularity of the story lay in large part in the fact that Twain refrains from patronizing his unlettered inhabitants of Calaveras County.
Smiley may have been fooled this time, but he is usually the victor and is likely to rebound. His proposed victim is to be congratulated on his quickness of mind; Simon Wheeler may be a bit long-winded, but he tells a good story.
If anyone is made to look the fool, it is Twain, the aggrieved letter writer, whose proper way with grammar has not made him any less susceptible to a harmless practical joke. The joke is ultimately on Twain, and he takes it well. It was this kind of happy tomfoolery in the early stories, with the acceptance of rural America as a place not without its own kind of bucolic silliness and occasional quick wit, which readers and audiences liked about the young writer and performer.
The tougher, sharper Twain was yet to come. The Innocents Abroad First published: Travel literature Twain accompanies a group of affluent Americans on a tour of Europe and the Holy Land and reports on the sights and sounds and the comic and satiric confrontations between the Old and the New Worlds.
It must have seemed a clever idea to send a popular young comic journalist on a tour with a boatload of prominent citizens in order to record, as The Innocents Abroad did, the day-to-day experience of Americans having a good time in the exotic old countries.
When the book came out, however, the reaction was not entirely favorable. Twain had confirmed what every American already knew—that Europe was terribly run-down and was greedy for the dollars of rich Americans. He also suggested that the Americans often made fools of themselves and quite as often were downright vulgar—thereby confirming what Europeans already knew about America.Books at Amazon.
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The culture of the Southern United States, or Southern culture, is a subculture of the United States. The combination of its unique history and the fact that many Southerners maintain—and even nurture—an identity separate from the rest of the country has led to its being the most studied and written-about region of the U.S.
Mark Twain Mark Twain is believed to be the father of all American literature. Twain was known for writing about issues of his time such as slavery, due to his style of honesty and truth he was known as one of the very first modernist writers.
The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum. As a non-partisan forum, The Club brings to the public airwaves diverse viewpoints on important topics.
I. Albion’s Seed by David Fischer is a history professor’s nine-hundred-page treatise on patterns of early immigration to the Eastern United States. It’s not light reading and not the sort of thing I would normally pick up. I read it anyway on the advice of people who kept telling me it .
Mark Twain and Susan B. Anthony are considered to be two of America’s first American Literature authors. Mark Twain, known as the “Father of America Literature”, became an author in the West after the end of the Civil War.