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Mark Twain’s Satire

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MINISTRY OF HIGHER AND SECONDARY SPECIALISED EDUCATION OF THE REPUBLIC
OF UZBEKISTAN

GULISTAN STATE UNIVERSITY

The English and Literature department

Kan Anna’s qualification work on speciality 5220100, English philology
on theme:

Mark Twain’s Satire

Supervisor: Tojiev Kh.

Gulistan-2006

Contents

I. Introduction

1.1. General characteristics of the work

2.1. Some words about Mark Twain

II. Main part

1.2.Early life of Mark Twain

2.2. Beginning of literary career, Twain’s first successful experiences

3.2. Marriage and wife’s influence on Mark Twain’s literary works

4.2. “The Guilded Age” as the first significant work

5.2. Critical analysis of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

6.2. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” as the most significant work

7.2. Later years of Mark Twain

8.2. Simpletons abroad (American literature abroad)

III. Conclusion

1.3. Afterwards to Mark Twain’s literary significance

IV Bibliography

Introduction

1.1 General characteristics of the work

The theme of our qualification work sounds as following: “Mark Twain and
his Satire” The brief characteristics of our work can be seen from the
following features:

The topicality of this work causes several important points. We dare to
say that Mark Twain always remains topical for us because his works,
even written more than a century ago his immortal humor, tell about the
modern things and phenomena which happen in our lives, such as humans’
qualities, the problems of friendship, support, greed, populism,
childhood, love, revenge, etc. And our work becomes much more topical
because of the reason that Mark Twain is still one of the most popular
American writers read by readers. We are sure that there is hardly a man
in our country can be found, who has never heard of adventures of Tom
Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, Yankee from
Connecticut, etc. We are also convincer that every intellectual learner
of English has these works as hand-books for themselves. So the
significance of our work can be proved by the following reasons:

a) Mark Twain for the American literature is of the same value as
Chekhov for the Russians, Navoi for the Uzbeks, Gachec for the Checks,
etc.

b) Though written about his times, humoristic works of Twain reflect
the real state of affairs happened in our modern life, and even such
scenes might happen with the readers of our qualification work.

c) Twain’s books are also worth studying for their brilliant humour,
metaphoric language, ideas and dialogues within the works.

Having based upon the topicality of the theme we are able to formulate
the general purposes of our qualification work.

a) To study, analyze, and sum up the humour- essence of Twain’s works.

b) To analyze humoristic works of the writer.

c) To prove the idea of modernity in Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night”.

c) To mention and compare between themselves the critical opinions
concerning to the play.

d) To take time parallels between Twain’s times and reality of nowadays.

e) To study Mark Twain’s heritage and greatness and significance on the
base of his works “Huckleberry Finn”, “Tom Sawyer”, “Yankee from
Connecticut”, “The Prince and the Pauper”.

If we say about the new information used within our work we may note
that the work studies the problem from the modern positions and analyzes
the modern trends appeared in this subject for the last ten years. For
instance, the novelty concludes in a wide collecting of Internet
materials dealing with Mark Twain’s heritage.

The practical significance of the work concludes in the following items:

a) The work could serve as a good source of materials for additional
reading by students at schools, colleges and lyceums.

b) The problem of difficult understanding stylistic devices could be a
little bit easier,

c) Those who would like to possess a perfect knowledge of English will
find our work useful and practical.

d) Our qualification work is recognition of greatness of our outstanding
American writer.

Having said about the scholars who dealt with the same theme earlier we
may mention B.Shaw, A.Anikst, A.Paine, Dr.Jonson, Alfred Bates and many
others.

We used in our work scientific approaches methods of general analysis.

The novelty of the work is concluded in including the modern
interpretations of the Twain’s heritage.

Compositional structure of my work consists of four major parts –
Introduction, Main part, Conclusion, and Bibliography. The brief content
of each part is to be presented for your attention.

We subdivided the introductory material into two sections.. The first
section gives some brief characteristics of the work, its aims and
goals, problems and methods of investigation. The second item reveals
common biographic milestones of Mark Twain, which were significant for
the subject matter of our theme. The main part bears eight items in
itself. Each items reveal the concrete problem. In the first paragraph
we reflected the early years of Mark Twain’s life, precisely his young
years, when Twain worked on the Mississippi, and the experiences of
which were later reflected in all the works of satirist. The second item
demonstrates the analysis of satirical works and his novel “Simpletons
Abroad”. In the third paragraph of the main part we took into
consideration the problem of the influence of wife onto the work of
Twain. The fourth item tells us about the satiric novel “The Guilded
Age”, – second serious work of Twain. The next two paragraphs of the
main part take into consideration Mark Twain’s the most famous and
magnificent works , in which his satirical talent appeared most greatly,
– “Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” .The seventh item
tells about the later years of Mark Twain, which were characterized by
the crisis of his creative activity, upsetting the reality of life, and
sharpening of social contradictions. The last paragraph tells about the
history of the American literary invasion in Europe owing to appearance
of Twain’s works. In the Conclusion work we gave some notes concerning
the literary significance of Twain’s works, their novelty and actuality
for modern readers. The qualification work contains to the bibliography
, which mentions the list of literature used in the frame of our work.

2.1 Mark Twain – a great American writer – contributed an enormous
contribution to literature of his country

Nevertheless, it is not all that would be possible to say about Twain.
Mark Twain is one of the most important figures of the American life and
the American culture as a whole. He was bound by the incalculable links
with the move of development of his country, its national particularity,
and social contradictions, and this link is felt deeply through all of
his creative activity.

Leaving out of the folk layers, he became the brilliant representative
of the American humanitarian intellectuals. Besides, under that layer,
he did not “run”, like many of his congeners, on the positions of
dominating class, but he has occupied the critical position on all of
the main questions concerning lives of his country, having criticized
the politics dominating in his country, dominating religion, and
dominating moral rules.

The importance of Twain as the artistic historian of the USA is
difficult to overestimate.

Bernard Show once said that a researcher of the American society of the
XIX century would have to come to address to Twain not less, than a
historian of the French society of the XVIII century would have to treat
to the works of Voltaire. In development of Bernard Show’s thought we
think that it is necessary to add that those who want to knew more about
the American life of the XX century, up to the most alive contemporary,
will also find a lot of important and actual materials in Twain’s works
– with their shrewdness and generalizing power of the talent of this
great American!

The importance and the role of Twain as the outrageously forming power
in the American literature does not only weaken through the year
passing, but it still becomes firmly established again and again with an
increasing power.

“The whole modern American literature came out of one book of Mark
Twain, which is identified as “Huckleberry Finn”. This is the best of
all our books… There was nothing like to be existed in our literature
before it. Nothing which could be equal to this book has been still
written “.

These words belong to one of the largest and most influential masters
and trailblazers of the modern literature of the USA – to Ernest
Hemingway.

“ Persuaded,” wrote Bernard Shaw

As we wrote above, B. Show wrote about Mark Twain, “that the future
historian of America will find your works indispensable to him as a
French historian finds the political tracts of Voltaire.” By his own
participation, no artist in our literature save Lincoln is so broad a
segment of typical American experience in the last century, Langhorne
Clemens, known by the most famous pen name that an American ever bore,
is a matchless annalist of his times. His life makes those Carry men in
Boston and Concord and New York resemble the flowering of talents that
blossomed in too retired a k. He knew the greatest river Mississippi of
the continent as Melville knew the high. He witnessed the epic of
America, the westward tide at its full, with option keener than the
shallow appraisals of Bret Harte and Joaquin. When in his Autobiography
Mark Twain recalls after forty years the faddy of an emigrant lad
stabbed to death by a drunken comrade, and adds, the red life gush from
his breast,” we are reminded of Whitman’s nation, “I was there”—with the
difference that Walt’s immediacy was genitive, Mark’s actual. In the
activities of the external man as well as in actor and temperament, Mark
Twain was a representative American— idyllic ante-bellum boyhood in a
river town, to maturity enmeshed in Toss-purposes of the Gilded Age
which he christened, and thence to the years of mingled hope and
disillusion in the Progressive Era. Despite we avowal, “There is not a
single human characteristic which can be f labeled as ‘American,’ ” Mark
Twain is stamped unforgettably with the brand. If he failed finally to
reconcile reality and ideality, he abs and gave expression to both. That
failure was not his; it belonged to penetration age his incurably
Calvinist mind saw all the events of his life, from son November 30,
1835, in the village of Florida, Missouri, as a chain of titian forged
by some power outside his will. Like his Connecticut Yankee as led to
reflect upon heredity, “a procession of ancestors that stretches a
billion years to the Adam-clam or grasshopper or monkey from whom ace
has been so tediously and ostentatiously and unprofitably developed.”

Main Part

1.2 Early life of Mark Twain

I am persuaded,” wrote Bernard Shaw about Mark Twain, “that the future
historian of America will find your works indispensable to him as a
French historian finds the political tracts of tare.” By his own
participation, no artist in our literature save Lincoln is so broad a
segment of typical American experience in the last century, Langhorne
Clemens, known by the most famous pen name that an American ever bore,
is a matchless annalist of his times. His life makes those Carry men in
Boston and Concord and New York resemble the flowering of talents that
blossomed in too retired a k. He knew the greatest river of the
continent as Melville knew the high. He witnessed the epic of America,
the westward tide at its full, with option keener than the shallow
appraisals of Bret Harte and Joaquin. When in his Autobiography Mark
Twain recalls after forty years the faddy of an emigrant lad stabbed to
death by a drunken comrade, and adds, the red life gush from his
breast,” we are reminded of Whitman’s nation, “I was there”—with the
difference that Walt’s immediacy was genitive, Mark’s actual. In the
activities of the external man as well as in actor and temperament, Mark
Twain was a representative American— idyllic ante-bellum boyhood in a
river town, to maturity enmeshed in Toss-purposes of the Gilded Age
which he christened, and thence to the years of mingled hope and
disillusion in the Progressive Era. Despite »we avowal, “There is not a
single human characteristic which can be f labeled as ‘American,’ ” Mark
Twain is stamped unforgettably with the brand. If he failed finally to
reconcile reality and ideality, he abs and gave expression to both. That
failure was not his; it belonged to penetration.

age his incurably Calvinist mind saw all the events of his life, from
son November 30, 1835, in the village of Florida, Missouri, as a chain
of titian forged by some power outside his will. Like his Connecticut
Yankee as led to reflect upon heredity, “a procession of ancestors that
stretches a billion years to the Adam-clam or grasshopper or monkey from
whom ace has been so tediously and ostentatiously and unprofitably
developed.”

His father, an austere restless Virginian, bequeathed the family a vain
hone of fortune from “the Tennessee lands,” like Squire Hawkins in The
Gilded Age; he also gave his son an object lesson in failure like the
example set the father of a genius whom Mark the Baronial once rose to
challenge Shakespeare of Stratford. The wife and mother, Jane Lampton
Clernens of Kentucky pioneer stock, sought by her strong Presbyterianism
to balance her husband’s village-lawyer agnosticism; their famous son
inherited the self-tormenting conscience with the latter’s will to
disbelieve. As for derivations more remote Twain the romantic relished
his maternal tie with the Earls of Durham through “the American
claimant,” while Twain the democrat reserved his sole ancestral pride
for a Regicide judge, who “did what he could toward reducing the list of
crowned shams of his day.”

In 1839 the Clemens’s moved to Hannibal, on the west bank of the
Mississippi, and set the conditions of boyhood and youth from which
flowed the wellspring of Mark Twain’s clearest inspiration. Thanks to
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, its aspect in the forties has become
the property of millions: the wharf giving upon the turbid waters where
rafts and broad-horns, fast packets and gay showboats passed endlessly,
the plank sidewalks where Tom and Becky trudged to school, the tanyard
where Huck’s drunken father slept among the hogs, the steep slope of
Cardiff (really Holliday’s) Hill, the surrounding woods of oak and
hickory and sumach, and a few miles downstream the cave where Injun Joe
met death. Hannibal lay in its halcyon summer between frontier days and
the convulsions of the Civil War, the latter forecast in the mobbing of
an occasional abolitionist and the tracking down of runaway slaves. On
the whole, happiness outweighed grief; prized in retrospect was the
large freedom of a boy’s life, with the swimming hole and woods full of
game, jolly playmates banded against a world of adult supremacy, and
dinner tables groaning with prodigal hospitality. “It was a heavenly
place for a boy,” Hannibal’s first citizen remembered.

Sam Clemens’ schooling ended early, when he was about twelve. After his
father’s death the lad was apprenticed to a printer’s shop—”the poor
boys college,” Lincoln called it. Lack of formal education doubtless
gave the later Mark Twain an eagerness to have his genius certified by
convention, and also led him occasionally to discover shopworn ideas
with a thrill impossible to sophisticates; but it also delivered him
from those cultural stereotypes into which the genius of New England,
for example, for generations had been poured. Fatalist that he was,
Twain liked to date his career from certain accidents. The first of them
came one day on the streets of Hannibal, when the young printer picked
up a stray leaf from a book about Joan of Arc, an for the first time saw
magic in the printed word. Henceforth the itch scribbling was strong
upon him. His earliest known appearance in print, crudely humorous
sketch called “The Dandy Frightening the Squatter,” appeared in the
Boston Carpet Bag of May i, 1852. He left Hannibal the next year,
wandering on to New York and Philadelphia, and began to send hometown
papers the first of those facetious travel pieces which he wrote
sporadically for the next half-century. In 1857, after tarrying awhile
in Cincinnati, Jie set out for New Orleans with a notion of shipping for
the Amazon. But, lacking funds, he became a steamboat pilot under the
tutelage of Horace Bixby. That veteran gradually taught him the ever
changing aspects of the Mississippi, by sun and starlight, at low water
and in flood.

For two years after that Clemens turned his wheel atop the taxes deck,
drawing a licensed pilot’s high wages, while he gained postgraduate
schooling inhuman nature. Oft quoted is his later assertion: “When I
find a well-drawn character in fiction or biography I generally take a
warm personal interest in him, for the reason that I have known him
before—met him on the river.” A born worrier, he felt the responsibility
that lay within a pilot’s hands as he steered past narrows and snags and
sand bars, or for the sake of prestige raced his rivals until the boiler
nearly burst under its head of steam. His old master, many years later,
stated that Clemens “knew the river like a book, but he lacked
confidence.” One may speculate whether a very human incertitude, deep in
his being, did not chime with a classic type of humor in his constant
self-portrayal as the man who gets slapped: the bumptious yet timid cub
of Life on the Mississippi; the fear-bedeviled soldier of “The Campaign
That Failed”; the tenderfoot of Roughing It, setting forest fires and
just missing wealth through sheer stupidity; or the harassed traveler
losing his tickets, browbeaten by porters and shopkeepers, falling foul
of the authorities, who appears in a long sequence from the juvenile
Snodgrass letters to A Tramp Abroad.

Clemens’ career on the river ended in the spring of 1861 with the
outbreak of hostilities. With brief enthusiasm he joined a Confederate
militia band, savoring the boyish conspiracy of war in its early stages.
In the lack of discipline the band soon broke up; and Sam, with qualms
about fighting for slavery, yielded to persuasion from his Unionist
brother Orion, lately appointed Secretary of the Territory of Nevada. In
July, 1861, the two set out for the West. The outlines of the story told
in Roughing If are true enough: the nineteen-day trip across the plains
and Rockies to Carson City; an attack r mining fever that left Sam none
the richer; his acceptance of a job on the Vll”ginia City Enterprise; a
journalist’s view of San Francisco in flush times; and a
newspaper-sponsored voyage to the Sandwich Islands. His dream of
becoming a millionaire by a stroke of fortune never forsook him;
lingering ift

his blood, the bonanza fever made him a lifelong victim of gold bricks,
quick profit schemes, and dazzling inventions. But his return to
journalistic humor the vein he had worked in his late teens and early
twenties, imitative of such professional humorists as Seba Smith, J. J.
Hooper, and B. P. Shillaber ‘ whose productions every newspaper office
abounded—proved to be his real] lucky strike. In 1863 the Missourian of
twenty-eight met Artemus Ward o the latter’s Western lecture tour, and
watched a master storyteller in action-the adroit timing, change of
pace, and deadpan obliviousness to the point of one’s own wit. Twain’s
“How to Tell a Story” (1895) acknowledges these profitable lessons.

It was Ward who encouraged him to seek a wider audience than the
redshirted miners of Washoe and nabobs of the Golden Gate. The first
fruit of this encouragement to appear in the East—a piece of jocular
sadism against the small fry who made day and night hideous at resort
hotels, “Those Blasted Children”—was printed early in 1864 by the New
York Mercury Meanwhile in 1863 Clemens had begun to imitate current
funny men like Ward, Orpheus C. Kerr, and Josh Billings, by selecting a
pen name, the river-boat man’s cry for two fathoms, “Mark Twain.”
Clemens stoutly maintained he appropriated it soon after an eccentric
pilot-journalist of New Orleans Captain Isaiah Sellers, relinquished it
by death. No contribution in the New Orleans press, however, has ever
been found under that name; also, Sellers’ death occurred a year after
Clemens adopted this pseudonym. Whether original or borrowed, the name
served an important purpose. It created an alter ego, a public
character, which Clemens could foster through the years while doffing it
in private as he pleased. It set definable limits to his role of being
what the age called a “phunny phellow.” A speculative critic might guess
that his abiding interest in transposed identities, twins, and Siamese
prodigies mirrored a dualism which self-observation would have shown
running like a paradox through his nature: gullible and skeptical by
turns; realistic and sentimental, a satirist who gave hostages to the
established order, a frontiersman who bowed his neck obediently to
Victorian mores, and an idealist who loved the trappings of pomp and
wealth. Incessantly he contradicted himself on a variety of subjects.
His was not a single-track mind, but a whole switcn-yard. The creation
of two more or less separate identities—Clemens the sensitive and
perceptive friend, Mark Twain the robust and astringent humorist
springing from the same trunk of personality, helped to make him like
those ligatured twins in Pudd’nhead Wilson, Luigi and Angelo, “a human
philopena.”

2.2 Beginning of literary career, Twains first successful experiences

Under the name of Mark Twain the wild-haired Southwesterner began to
contribute to the press yarns swapped about the legislative halls of
Carso, the bars and billiard parlors of San Francisco, and the hot
stoves of miners on Jackass Hill. From these last, about February, 1865,
he first heard the old folk tale of the Jumping Frog. To the anecdote he
added the salt of human values which the genre usually Sacked, in
garrulous Simon Wheeler and simple Jim Smiley the Frog’s owner.
Published in the Saturday Press of Kew York, November 18,1865, it was
swiftly broadcast. The author grumbled in a letter home about the irony
of riding high on “a villanous backwoods sketch,” but already he was
tastingjhat sense of popularity_which soon came to be his elixir of
life. In October, 1866, back from Honolulu and planted on a San
Francisco lecture platform, he first encountered another powerful
stimulant, the instant response. Early in 1867, at Cooper Union in New
York, he won his eastern spurs, and began to be hailed as rightful heir
to Artemus Ward, lately dead of tuberculosis in England. Soon, as his
friend William Dean Howells phrased it, Twain learned “all the stops of
that simple instrument, man.” The lecturer’s effect upon the writer was
great. Increasingly Twain came to write by ear, testing his books by
reading aloud, while making the expanded anecdote or incident the unit
of his literary composition. Sometimes, of course, without benefit of
his infectious personal charm, that mane of fiery red hair and hawklike
nose, the gestures of an artist’s hands, and the inflections of that
irresistible drawl, a reader of cold print missed qualities which on the
platform redeemed humor of a perishable sort.

“When I began to lecture, and in my earlier writings, my sole idea was
to make comic capital out of everything I saw and heard,” he told the
biographer Archibald Henderson. After his first volume, of chiefly
Western sketches, named The Celebrated Jumping Frog (1867), he
reinforced this reputation by distilling a humorous travelogue out of
the letters sent back to the Alta California from his cruise to the
Mediterranean and Holy Land on the Quaker City in 1867. Comic capital
was readily furnished by the flood of tourists, affluent merchants and
their wives, war profiteers, former army officers on holiday, and
clergymen for whom Jerusalem justified the junket, which swept over the
Old World after Appomattox. Knowing themselves to be innocents, they
faced down their provincialism by brag and cockalorum, and haggling over
prices. Mark Twain gladly joined them, joking his way among the shrines
and taboos of antiquity, comparing Como unfavorably with Tahoe, bathing
in the Jordan, finding any foreign tongue incredibly tunny, and pitying
ignorance, superstition, and lack of modern conveniences. 1 he Innocents
Abroad (1869) helped to belittle our romantic allegiance to turope,
feeding our emergent nationalism. Instantly a best seller, it delighted
^nose Americans in whom “the sense of Newport” (as Henry James later
Called it) had never been deeply engrafted. A slender minority like
James himself felt that Mark Twain amused only primitive persons, was
the Phji-tines’ laureate. Years later, in 1889, in a letter to Andrew
Lang, Twain WouU glory in this charge:

Indeed I have been misjudged, from the first. I have never tried in even
single instance, to help cultivate the cultivated classes. I was not
equipped for ‘ either by native gifts or training. And I never had any
ambition in that directin ‘ but always hunted for bigger game—the
masses. I have seldom deliberately trf H to instruct them, but have done
my best to entertain them. Yes, you see I have always catered for the
Belly and the Members.

Yet this is not the whole story. From an early date, Mark Twain, the
playboy of the Western world, had begun to feel the aspirations of an
artist, to crave deeper approval than had come to the cracker-box
humorist like Sam Slick and Jack Downing. In Honolulu in 1866 the
diplomat Anson Burlin-game gave him advice by which the aged Twain
avowed he had lived “for forty years”: “Seek your comradeships among
your superiors in intellect and character; always climb.” On the Quaker
City voyage the Missourian fell under the refining spell of “Mother”
Fairbanks, wife of a prosperous Ohio publisher, and tore up those travel
letters which she thought crude. Always enjoying petticoat dominion, he
eagerly sought her approval of the revised Innocents and was enchanted
when she pronounced it

“authentic.” “A name 1 have coveted so long—and secured at last!” be
exclaimed. “/ don’t care anything about being humorous, or poetical, or
eloquent, or anything of that kind—the end and aim of my ambition is to
he authentic—is to be considered authentic.” In a similar thirst for
higher recognition he told Howells, reviewer of Innocents in the
Atlantic: “When I read that review of yours, I felt like the woman who
was so glad her baby had corne white.” Nevertheless, as Twain found to
his intermittent chagrin, his reputation throughout life kept returning
to that of a “phunny phellow,” turning cartwheels to captivate the
groundlings—until at length he built up the defensive attitude expressed
to Lang. At Atlantic dinners, the author of “Old Times on the
Mississippi” and Tom Sawyer found himself seated below the salt, ranked
by Longfellow and Lowell and Whittier, as well as by such adopted sons
of Boston as Howells and Aldrich. Despite the new decorum of his life
and the growing richness of his art, the wild man from the West was
expected, some time, somehow, to disgrace himself. And, by the meridian
of Boston, he eventually did so, when at the celebrated Whittier
birthday dinner on December 17, 1877, he made his speech of innocent
gaiety about three drunks in the high Sierras who personated Emerson,
Longfellow, and Holmes. The diners were shocked, refusing their laughter
while he stood solitary (as Howells said) “with his joke dead on his
hands.” The next day or so, when Twain’s haunting distrust of himself
and his own taste had induced a penitential hangover, he sent apologies;
writing characteristically: “Ah, well, I am a great and sublime fool.
gut then I am God’s fool, and all his works must be contemplated with
respect.” He then begged Howells to exclude him from the Atlantic for a
while, in the interest of readers’ good will. The gravity with which
both the saints and the sinner regarded this incident reveals the
massiveness of the genteel tradition in New England and the probationary
status upon which Mark was kept for so many years.

Between the publication of the Innocents and this indiscretion, Clemens
had taken a wife whose remolding influence has been the subject oЈ much
debate. The story of their courtship is familiar: his first sight of her
delicate face in a miniature carried by betrothal while her father, the
richest businessman in Elmira, and her kin were slowly won over; and
their wedding early in 1870, with Clemens the bridegroom trying
unsuccessfully to establish himself as a solid newspaper editor in
Buffalo, but moving to Hartford in 1871 to resume a free-lance life. His
veneration of women and their purity was almost fanatical. “I wouldn’t
have a girl that / was worthy of,” he wrote “Mother” Fairbanks before
his engagement. “She wouldn’t do.”

About the sexual make-up of Mark Twain speculation has been indulged
since the Freudian era. In that famous sophomoric sketch 1601, written
in mid-career to amuse his clerical friend Joe Twichell, he had Sir
Walter Raleigh describe “a people in ye uttermost parts of America, y*
copulate not until they be five-St-thirty years of age.” This, it
happens, was the age when Clemens married a semi-invalid wife, as if
some inadequacy in himself, some low sexual vitality, made such a woman
his fitting mate. And yet respecting their physical love for each other
and the fruitfulness of their union, with its four children, no doubt
can be raised. What illicit experience might have come to a boy growing
up in the accessible world of slavery, and passing his green manhood
upon river boats and in bonanza towns, can only be guessed at. In later
years, respecting the idealized Hannibal of his boyhood, he went so far
as to deny the existence of sexual irregularities; and by confine-mg his
two great novels about Hannibal to adolescence he was able in a banner
to carry his point. Obviously certain taboos about sex, personal as well
as conventional, appear in his writings from beginning to end. Unlike
friend Howells, he attempted no probing of desire, no analysis of the
affinity between man and woman beyond the calf love of Tom and Becky and
[he implausible treatment of Laura the siren of The Gilded A Only under
the protective shield of miscegenation, in the person of warm-blooded
Negress Roxana Wilson, does he venture approach passion which
overleaps”. Joan of virgin of exquisite purity plainly is the heroine
after his inmost heart fear of sex, like the shrinking of primitive
races and some adolescent from carnality as if it meant degradation of
the body, seems to lie at the roar of Mark Twain’s nature. The
exceptions of his occasional bawdry—in and a few unprinted works like
his speech before the Stomach Club in Paris and his manuscript “Letters
from the Earth”—but prove the rule, in ridiculing the body and its ways
sufficiently to suit the most fanatic Puritan.

Yet Twain was in no sense a misogynist. He loved the company of women,
of the refined women whose tastes and restraints fitted his own
presuppositions about them. His understanding of the feminine mind has
left no more delightful evidence than “Eve’s Diary,” written in 1905
shortly after Olivia’s death, so that Adam’s final bereavement becomes
the epitaph of his own loss: “Wherever she was, there was Eden.” Mark
Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn M. Prosveshcheniye 1986 pp.13,
26, 78, 134, 145, 149 In summary, Mark Twain’s personal make-up and the
conventions of gentility surrounding the kind of success he aspired to,
joined to suppress the recognition of sex as a key motive in human
actions—leaving woman not an object of desire but of reverential
chivalry.

3.2 Marriage and wife’s influence onto Mark twain’s literary works

The effect of his wife upon Twain the artist has provoked latter-day
discussion. One school of thought holds that Clemens was forced, first
by his mother and then by his wife, to “make good,” i.e., to make money
and be respectable. Moreover, thanks to the censorship of his wife, they
say, he became not the New World Rabelais but a frustrated genius
incapable of calling his soul or vocabulary his own. It is clear,
however, that proof of Livy’s “humiliating” dominion rests largely upon
Twain’s letters to Howells: that pair of devoted husbands married to
invalids who made a gallant little joke over being henpecked. The notion
that women exercised a gentle tyranny over their men folk, for the
latter’s good, always appealed to Mark Twain, schooled in Western
theories that man was coarser clay and woman a rare and special being
(as among the Washoe miners in Roughing It, who chipped m $2,500 in gold
as a gift at the miraculous sight of a live woman). All his late new
encouraged women to reform him improve his taste and manners. His three
little daughters who shared in the family rite knout as “dusting on
Papa, and the “angel-fish” of adolescent girls in his Bermudian Indian
summer, were among the youngest of the sex whose devoted slave he
rejoiced to was a kind oЈ game in the feudal tradition, which he adored.
But to assure therefore that Twain the genius was henpecked, baffled,
unmanned by women in general and Livy in particular is to convert a jest
into a cry to agnate converse influence of husband upon wife something
deserves to be aid Twain’s vitality rescued her from abysses of timorous
living, his banter relaxed her serious disposition, and his religious
skepticism destroyed her Christian faith.

as for the specific question of censorship, we know that Twain liked to
read aloud en jailed the results to his daily composition, usually
meeting the approval he craved, sometimes encountering a chill disfavor
to which he was equally sensitive. He was a poor self-critic and knew
it. He plunged into •writing without much plan or foresight. Levy’s
judgment in matters of simple good taste and in pruning wordiness and
irrelevance was clearly superior to his own in the heat of incubation. A
careful examination of his manuscripts shows that Mrs. Clemens, like
that other long-standing adviser William Dean Howells, objected to
certain vivid words and phrases— “wallow,” “bowels,” “spit,” “rotten,”
and realistic allusions to stenches and putrefaction which always
tempted Mark Twain, so that he grumbled about her “steadily weakening
the English tongue”—but that in mild profanities (like Huck Finn’s “comb
me all to hell”) and in rare inclinations toward the risquй (such as
the farce of “The Royal Nonesuch”) the author on second thought was his
own most attentive censor. He was not above playing an occasional hazard
with his critics to see how far he could skate on thin ice; then doubled
on his own track back to safety. Just as he dreamed of the unabashed
nakedness of a boy’s freedom on a raft floating down the Mississippi,
now and again he yearned for the lusty old ways of medieval speech,
“full of unconscious coarsenesses and innocent indecencies,” “good old
questionable stories,” as the Connecticut Yankee says. But quickly he
reminded himself, as he observes in A Tramp Abroad, that the license of
the printed word had been “sharply curtailed within the past eighty or
ninety years.” To this curb in the main he gave unstinting consent.

Up to the time of his anchorage in Hartford in 1871, the most important
facts about Mark Twain are the things that happened to him, shaping his
development as an artist and filling the granaries of memory. After that
date the chief milestones are the books he wrote out of that
accumulation. His maturity and self-assurance can be gauged, growing
from book to book through the next two decades, as he lectured at home
and abroad, met the captains of literature and politics and finance,
read widely if desultorily, and Perfected his early journalistic manner
until it became one of the great styles American letters—easy, incisive,
sensitive to nuances of dialect, rich in the resources of comedy,
satire, irony, and corrosive anger.

The Innocents Abroad (1869) and Roughing It (1872) he learned, under
emancipation from newspaper reporting, to take greater liberties with
fact for art’s sake. Both books owe such structure as they have to a
rough chronology. Upon this thread Mark Twain the raconteur strings one
story after another. The latter volume offers us almost all the classic
types which Americans in general, frontiersmen in particular, had long
since favored: the tall tale, the melodramatic shocker, the yarn of
pointless garrulity, humor, the canard of impossible coincidence, the
chain of free association that wanders farther and farther from its
announced subject; the comedy of man in his cups, the animal fable, and
the delusions of a lunatic. Paradox, surprise and understatement often
heighten his effects. Anecdote continues to be the fiber of those later
travel books, which show more fluency in repeating the essential
pattern, but grow in world-weariness after the early gusto of the
Innocents and the Argonauts. They include A Tramp Abroad (1880), with
more travesty of European languages, guide books, and art criticism, and
Following the Equator (1897), which reports Twain’s lecture tour in
Australia and India. Inevitable become his burlesques of sentimental
poetry, parodies of romantic situations, yarns picked up in new places
or recollected from the limbo of years. In this last book, however,
flippancy at the expense of peoples and customs vanishes when the
traveler reaches the threshold of Asia, as if the ancient disillusioned
torpor of that continent had stricken the satirist dumb. These
travelogues do not show Twain’s gifts to greatest advantage. Flashes of
notable writing occur, but intrinsically they are the potboilers of a
master improviser.

4.2.The earliest novel he attempted was The Gilded Age, in collaboration
with Charles Dudley Warner, published late in 1873, just as the panic
was ringing down the curtain upon the worst excesses of that age. It
harks back to their common knowledge of Missouri, where Warner had been
a surveyor, and to Twain’s passing observation of Washington in the
winter of 1867-1868, Mark Twain Collection of works NewYork 1997
pp.156-159, 274-276, 279, 412 when after return from the Holy Land he
had served briefly and unhappily as private secretary to pompous Senator
William Stewart of Nevada and more successfully had begun to write
humorous commentaries on the news (antici-pative of the late Will
Rogers) for the Tribune and the Herald of New York. This phase left him
with an abiding scorn for politicians, their intelligence and honesty.
(“Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can, is as
characteristic as the remark that we have “no distinctly native American
criminal class except Congress.”) Beside the bungling amateurs of Carso
City, these were graduates in graft, scrambling for the spoils of what a
lat -(critic termed the Great Barbecue. This same spectacle of
post-bellum Winton which sickened fastidious Henry Adams and led even
Whitman to optimist to pen the darker pages of Democratic Vistas, gave
Mark Twain his first shining target for satire.

Warner supplied conventional plot elements of romance, gentility, pluck
and luck, harmonized with the theme of material success, which the novel
debunks at one level but praises fulsomely at another, when it is
sanctioned by what passes among the majority as honesty. Twain himself
was always dazzled by the romance of fortune, especially if it followed
the ascent from rags to riches, as he shows in a story like “The
Ј1,000,000 Bank Note” (1893). Yet he was aware of the ironies and
unhappiness springing from the root of all evil, as revealed in “The
$50,000 Bequest” (1904) and most superbly in “The Man That Corrupted
Hadleyburg” (1899). In The Gilded Age the authors’ wavering purpose
resembles a mixture of Jonathan Swift and Horatio Alger. Satiric punches
are pulled by the constant impulse to strike out in all directions but
follow through in none. The vulgarity of a chromo civilization and the
urge to keep up with the Joneses mingle with churchly hypocrisy,
pork-barrel politics, high tariff, oratorical buncombe, abuse of the
franking privilege, bribery, personal immorality in high places,
profiteers of “shoddy,” and the wider degradation of the democratic
dogma.

The Gilded Age is clearly a world of optimistic illusion, proudly
putting its best foot forward though the other limp behind in a shabby
mud-bespattered boot. In the backwoods, stagecoaches with horns blowing
enter and leave town at a furious clip, but once out of sight “drag
along stupidly enough”—even as steamboats burn fat pine to make an
impressive smoke when they near port. Credit is the basis of society; a
typical parvenu boasts; “I wasn’t worth a cent a year ago, and now I owe
two millions of dollars.” Most engaging specimen of this psychology is
Colonel Sellers, a New World Micawber, who deals in imaginary millions
while he and the family dine off turnips and cold water (man’s best
diet, he loftily assures them), and warm themselves at a stove through
whose isinglass door flickers the illusory glow of a candle. Drawn from
Twain’s Uncle James Lampton, the Colonel is an epitome of the American
dream that remains a mirage—impulsive, generous, hospitable, and
scheming to enrich not only himself but relatives and friends, and
incidentally benefit all humankind, a colossal failure who basks forever
in the rush light of the success cult. Not dishonest by nature, in the
heady milieu of Washington he begins to apologize for bribery (“a harsh
term”), while hitching his wagon to the baleful star of Senator
Dilworthy, drawn roan the lineaments of Kansas’ notorious Pomeroy. In
certain passages Mark win’s irony is whetted to a cutting edge, but the
book’s total effect is tar. In many ways both authors were children of
the Gilded Age, resuscitate him. The modest laurels of a dramatic
version of The Gilded Age, produced in 1874, led Twain and Howells to
attempt in 1883 an hailer’ sequel which, however, the stage Sellers of
the earlier script, John T, declined to play because that character had
been exaggerated brink of lunacy. The plot, as embalmed in Twain’s
novel, The Anieri Claimant (1892) Mark Twain The Adventures Of Tom
Sawyer L. High School 1974 pp. 34,47, 89, 113-114, justifies the actor’s
verdict. It is one of the humorist’s m strained and least successful
efforts.

5.2 Critical analysis of “Adventures of Tom Sawyer”

Three years after The Gilded Age Twain published Tom Sawyer, the first
of three great books about the Mississippi River of his youth. Beyond
question, Huckleberry Finn (1885), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and
Tom Sawyer (1876) are, in that order, his finest works. The reasons for
their superiority are not far to seek. In plotting a book his structural
sense was always weak; intoxicated by a hunch, he seldom saw far ahead,
and too many of his stories peter out from the author’s fatigue or
surfeit. His wayward technique as Howells recognized, came close to free
association:

So far as I know, Mr. Clemens is the first writer to use in extended
writing the fashion we all use in thinking, and to set down the thing
that comes into his mind without fear or favor of the thing that went
before or the thing that may be about to follow.

This method served him best after he had conjured up characters from
long ago, who on coming to life wrote the narrative for him, passing
from incident to incident with a grace their creator could never achieve
in manipulating an artificial plot. In travel books and other
autobiography written under the heat of recent experience, Mark Twain
seemingly put in everything, mixing the trivial, inane, and farcical
with his best-grade ore. But in the remembrance of things past, time had
dissolved the alloy, leaving only gold. The nostalgia for a youth’s
paradise “over the hills and far away,” for the fast-vanishing freedom
of the West, appealed deeply to the age of boyhood sentiment enriched by
Longfellow and Whittier. It also led to Mark Twain’s strength; namely,
the world of the senses and physical action. What he felt was always
better expressed than what he had thought or speculated about. A boy’s
world freed him from those economic and political perplexities, adult
dilemmas and introspections, where in rages and knotty casuistries he
lost the sureness o touch that came to him through the report of his
five senses or through the championship of justice when the issue was as
simple as the conflict between bullies and little folk.

Jan his heart Mark Twain must have realized that essentially he was a
man feeling, too sensitive to serve merely as a comedian, too
undisciplined to philosopher he sometimes fancied himself. His forte was
to recapture “his sheer joy of living, when to be young was very heaven.
A great river flowing through the wilderness set the stage for a boy’s
own dream of selfefficiency, of being a new Robinson Crusoe on Jackson’s
Island. In the background moved the pageantry of life, colored by humor,
make-believe, and melodrama; but the complexity of the machine age and
the city lay far, far away.

Mark Twain did not write his first books about this dream world, but let
he haze of ideality collect about it, reserving it luckily for the high
noon of his powers. Apparently the first hint oЈ this motif comes in one
of his New ‘ York letters to the Alta California, in the spring of 1867,
in which he happens to recall the town drunkard of Hannibal, Jimmy Finn
(destined to return as Huck’s father), and also the Cadets of Temperance
which Sam Clemens joined in order to march in funeral processions
wearing their red scarf. This latter incident crops up in Tom Sawyer.
Shortly afterward in The Innocents, among the pleasures and palaces of
Europe, Twain interpolated other boyhood memories. In February, 1870, on
receiving a letter from his “first, and oldest and dearest friend” Will
Bowen, one of the flesh-and-blood components of Tom Sawyer, he sat down
under the spell of the past and wrote a reply calling up some eight
scenes which later appear in Tom Sawyer and Hackle-berry Finn. Around
this time he wrote a nameless sketch about a romantic lovesick swain who
beyond question is Tom Sawyer. Designated as “Boy’s Manuscript” by
Twain’s first editor, Albert Bigelow Paine, it was not published until
1942 in Bernard De Veto’s Mark Twain at Wolf. Some four years later
Twain made a fresh start, scrapping the earlier diary form in favor of
third-person narrative. By midsummer, 1875, it was done, and off the
press late in the next year (a few months after Clemens with his usual
inconsistency had written Will Bowen a stern letter on August 31, 1876,
bidding him dwell no more in the sentimental never-never land of
boyhood, denying that the past holds anything “worth pickling for
present or future use”). In this latter year Twain began Huckleberry
Finn as a sequel, laid it aside during six years, went back to the story
after his visit to Hannibal in 1882, and bushed it a little over two
years later.

The first reader of Tom Sawyer, William Dean Howells, disagreed with the
author that he had written a book for adults only. He quickly persuaded
twain that it was primarily a story for boys, which would gad over their
shoulder. Twain therefore withdrew a few gibes against Sunday schools
and turned several phrases that smacked of backwoods frankness. Nothing
of importance, however, was altered, nor did Tom suffer from
transformation into the neat, obedient paragon which fiction for the so
long had held up to their resentful gaze. The first chapter announces
the Tom “was not the Model Boy of the village. He knew the model boy
well though — and loathed him.” The only resemblance Tom bears to t-K
fictional creations of his time is in sensibility: he yields to
self-pity relish every neighborhood tear shed over his supposed
drowning, and almost fail upon hearing that even a villain like Injun
Joe has been sealed in the ca Otherwise, our hero is of very different
mettle. He steals from and Aunt Folly luxuriates in idleness, missives
in church, huffs and like his friend Huck employs lying as protective
coloration in a world of adult tyrants. Consequently, in some American
homes the new book was read by grown-ups, then tucked away out of a
boy’s reach; its successor Huckleberry Finn, soon after publication was
ejected from the town library of Concord, Massachusetts (where, a
generation before, John Brown had been welcomed by Thoreau and Emerson),
because Huck elected to “go to Hell” rather than betray his friend, a
runaway Negro.

In 1870 Thomas Bailey Aldrich had published his mild Story of a Bad Boy;
Mark Twain. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court M. Drofa 2003
p.134, 163, 222, 267 twenty years later Twain’s friend Hovels would
reminisce of adolescents not too bright or good for human nature’s daily
food in A Boy’s Town; a little later came Stephen Crane’s recollections
of Whilom Ville and William Alien White’s of Bayville. They helped
maintain the tradition of realism. In extreme recoil from priggishness,
a line beginning with Peck’s Bad Boy in 1883 flaunted incorrigibility
above all. It is possible to overstress the picaresque intent of Tom
Sawyer in turning upside down the world of Peter Parley and the Rolla
books, or its analogues with that still greater novel, Cervantes’ Don
Quixote, in which some critics find the model of Tom the dreamer and
Huck his commonsense henchman. Mark Twain’s verisimilitude should not be
overlooked in this search for “purpose.” He wrote about boys from having
been one in the Gilded Age, in a river town before the war.

To a stranger in 1887 he described this book as “simply a hymn, put into
prose form to give it a worldly air.” These lads no more resemble Peck’s
Bad Boy than they do the model children of that improving story-teller,
Jacob Abbott. Within a framework of superb dialogue and setting, of
sensitive perceptions that turn now and again into poetry, against a
background where flicker shadows of adult humanitarianism and irony, Tom
and Huck grow visibly as we follow them. The pranks and make-believe of
early chapters-whitewashing the fence, releasing a pinch bug in church,
playing pirate in Tom Sawyer, and in its sequel the rout of a Sunday
school picnic under the guise of attacking a desert caravan — are dimmed
as the human values deepen and occasional moral issues appear. The Tom
who takes Becky’s punishment in school, and testifies for the innocent
Muff Potter at risk of the murderer revenge, parallels the development
of Huck from a happy-golucky gamine epitome of generosity and loyalty.

6.2 “Huckleberry Finn” as the most significant work

Mark Twain makes no account of consistencies in time. His boys vary
between the attitudes of nine-year-ids and those of thirteen or
fourteen, despite the fact that Tom Sawyer ‘s time is one Missouri
summer, and that of Huckleberry Finn a few more broken months. Like the
creator of perennial comic-strip characters, Twain syncopates the march
of time as he pleases. In the latter novel he also ignores the fact that
Nigger Jim could have escaped by swimming across to the free soil of
Illinois early in the book, and commits other sins against literalism
which he would have ridiculed unmercifully in the pages of his noire
James Fennimore Cooper.

Huckleberry Finn is clearly the finer book, showing a more mature point
of view and exploring richer strata of human experience. A joy forever,
it is unquestionably one of the masterpieces of American and of world
literature. Here Twain returned to his first idea of having the chief
actor tell the story, with better results. Huck’s speech is saltier than
Tom’s, his mind freer from the claptrap of romance and sophistication.
Huck is poised midway between the town-bred Tom and that scion of wood
lore and primitive superstition Nigger Jim, toward whom Huck with his
margin of superior worldliness stands in somewhat the same relation that
Tom stands toward Huck. When Tom and Huck are together, our sympathy
turns invariably toward the latter. A homeless river rat, cheerful in
his rags, suspicious of every attempt to civilize him, Huck has none of
the unimportant virtues and all the essential ones. The school of hard
knocks has taught him skepticism, horse sense, and a tenacious grasp on
reality. But it has not toughened him into cynicism or crime. Nature
gave him a stanch and faithful heart, friendly to all underdogs and
instantly hostile toward bullies and all shapes of overmastering power.
One critic has called him the type of the common folk, sample of the
run-of-the-mill democracy in America. Twain himself might have objected
to the label, for him once declared “there are no common people, except
m the highest spheres of society.” Huck always displays frontier
neighborliness, even trying to provide a rescue for three murderers
dying marooned on a wrecked boat, because “there isn’t no telling but I
might come to be a murderer myself, yet, and then how would I like it?”
Money does not tempt him to betray his friend Nigger Jim, though at
times his conscience is troubled by the voice of convention, preaching
the sacredness of property — in the guise of flesh and blood — and he
trembles on the brink of surrender. Nor can he resist sometimes the
provocation offered by Jim’s innocent sedulity, only to be cut to the
quick when his friend bears with dignity the skivers that his
trustfulness has been made game of. Even as Huck surpasses Tom in
qualities of courage and heart, so Nigger Jim excels even

Huck in fidelity and innate manliness, to emerge as the book’s
character.

Sam Clemens himself (who in the first known letter he wrote his on the
day he reached New York in August, 1853, Mark Twain. A Connecticut
Yankee in King Arthur’s Court M. Drofa 2003 p.134, 163, 222, 267 had
indulged the sarcasm, “I reckon I had better black my face, for in these
Eastern Stat niggers are considerably better than white people”) learned
in time, much Huck learns, to face down his condescension. In later
years he became warm friend of the Negro and his rights. He paid the way
of a near student through Yale as “his part of the reparation due from
every white t every black man,” and savagely attacked King Leopold of
Belgium for the barbarities of his agents in the Congo. Mrs. Clemens
once suggested as a mollifying rule to her husband, “Consider everybody
colored till he is proved white.” Howells thought that as time went on
Clemens the South westerner was prone to lose his Southern but cleave to
his Western heritage, finding his real affinities with the broader
democracy of the frontier. On other issues of race prejudice, Twain
looked upon the Jew with unqualified admiration defended the Chinese
whom he had seen pelted through the streets of San Francisco, and
confessed to only one invincible antipathy, namely, against the
French—although his most rhapsodic book was written in praise of their
national heroine.

The final draft of Huckleberry Finn was intimately bound up with the
writing of Twain’s third great volume about his river days, Life on the
Mississippi. Fourteen chapters of these recollections had been published
in the Atlantic in 1875; before expanding them into a book Twain made a
memorable trip in 1882 back to the scenes of his youth. In working more
or less simultaneously on both long-unfinished books, he lifted a scene
intended for Huckleberry Finn—about Huck and the craftsmen—to flavor the
other book, but the great gainer from his trip was not the memoir but
the novel. The relative pallor of Life on the Mississippi, Part II, is
due in a measure to the fact that so much lifeblood of reminiscence is
drained off into the veins of Huckleberry Finn. The travel notes of
1882, written up soon after Twain s return home, are suffused with some
of the finest situations in his novel: the Grangerford-Shepherdson feud,
Colonel Sherborn and the mob, and the two seedy vagabonds who come
on-stage as the Duke and the King, with a posse in their wake, who “said
they hadn’t been doing nothing, and was being chased for it.”

Mark Twain’s renewed contact with life among the river towns quickened
his sense of realism. For Huckleberry Finn, save in its passages about
the peace and freedom of Jackson’s Island, is no longer “simply a hymn,”
and so dim has grown the dream of adolescent romancing that Becky Tactic
reappears but perfunctorily under the careless label of “Bessie”
Thatcher essay Huck’s voyage through the South reveals aspects of life
darker than the occasional melodrama of Tom Sawyer. We are shown the and
of poor white jack woods loafers with their plug tobacco and Barlow dogs
on stray sows and laugh at the fun and look grateful for the noise,” or
drench a stray cur with turpentine and set him afire. We remark the
cowardice of lynching “parties” the chicanery of patent medicine fakers,
revivalists, and exploiters of rustic ribaldry; the senseless feedings
of he gentry. In the background broods fear: not only a boy’s
apprehension of -hosts, African superstitions, and the terrors of the
night, nor the adults’ dread of black insurrection, but the endless
implicated strands of robbery, floggings, drowning, and murder. Death by
violence lurks at every bend of road or river. Self-preservation becomes
the ruling motive, squaring perfectly with the role of the principal
characters, Huck the foot-loose orphan and his friend Jim the
fugitive—puny in all strengths save loyalty, as they wander among the
boots of white adult supremacy. The pair belongs to the immortals of
fiction.

“Never keen at self-criticism, Mark Twain passed without soundings from
these depths to the adjacent shallows of burlesque and extravaganza. The
last fifth of this superb novel, Huckleberry Finn, brings back the
romantic Tom Sawyer, with a hilarious, intricate, and needless plot for
rescuing Jim from captivity. The story thus closes upon the farcical
note with which the Hannibal cycle has begun, in the whitewashing
episode. On the same note many years later Mark Twain tried to revive
his most famous characters, in Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894), with Tom, Huck,
and Jim as passengers of a mad balloonist and their subsequent
adventures in Egypt. Though inferior to its great predecessors, this
book does not lack humor, gusto, and rich characterization. Tom Sawyer,
Detective (1896) Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn M.
Prosveshcheniye 1986 pp.13, 26, 78, 134, 145, 149 dishes up a melodrama
of stolen diamonds, double-crossing thieves, and that immortal device of
Plaits and Shakespeare, identical twins, whose charm custom could not
stale for Mark Twain. Here haste artifice, and creative fatigue grow
painfully apparent.

Uneven quality appears in even though it came at the high tide of his
powers. Chapters IV-XVII was written for the Atlantic after Twain’s
chance reminiscences led his friend twitchily to exclaim, “What a virgin
subject to hurl into a magazine!” Fresh, vivid, humorous, they recall
the great days of river traffic: the problems of navigation, the races,
the pilots’ association, the resourcefulness and glory of the old-time
pilot. The addenda, which came after Twain’s return to the river for
“copy,” sometimes attain the former standard—the description of Pilot
Brown the scold, or the account of the Pennsylvania disaster and Henry
Clemens’ death—but more prove disappointing after the white heat of the
book’s inception. The two chapters on the history of the river are
merely an afterthought; the later ones too often wander among irrelevant
yarns, like the revenge of the Austrian, or vignettes of picturesque New
Orleans. Sam Clemens’ and a half as cub pilot are followed by almost no
mention of his two years as a licensed skipper. Instead we are treated
to such vagaries as Twain’s famous theory about Sir Walter Scott, whose
“Middle-Age sham civilization» he claimed, inspired the chivalry of the
Old South, which in turn provoked the Civil War.

Yet with all its flaws of disunity and untidiness, Life on the remains a
masterpiece. Its communicable delight in experience, its of the human
comedy and tragedy on the river (which Melville alone among great
artists had tried to bring into focus in The Confidence Man in 1857)
lend it real durability. Howeils believed that the author long regarded
it his greatest book — pleased with assurance to that effect from the
German Kaiser and also from a hotel porter, whose praise he accepted
with equal satisfaction. In other moods, toward the end of his life,
Twain favored Joan of Arc, in part because it cost him “twelve years of
preparation and two years of writing. The others needed no preparation,
& got none.” Thus again he displayed the blindness of self-appraisal.
The book that required probably least effort of all, drawn from a
brimming native reservoir, Huckleberry Finn, unquestionably is his
finest, with Tom Sawyer and Life on the Mississippi as runners-up.

7.2 Later years of Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s later years show a drift toward the remote in time and
place, in a fitful quest for new themes, new magic—a search that
proceeded apace with a growing sense of personal dissatisfaction,
frustration, and heartbreak. While the aging artist began to lose much
of his creative fire, Clemens the generous, erratic, moody, and
vulnerable human being remained, standing at bay against the
disillusions and disasters that gathered to ring him around and mock his
fame as the world humorist of the century. The development of this last
phase is worth tracing.

From recollections of his Hannibal boyhood he gravitated toward a new
but distinctly artificial romanticism, “the pageant and fairy-tale” of
lire 1° medieval Europe. His earliest treatment of the theme is, The
Prince and the Pauper (i88i),history mainly for children, built upon the
old plot to taffy. Here to a degree, and still more in Connecticut Yard
in King Arthur’s Court (1889) and Personal Recollections of Joan of An
(1896), the romantic’s fascination with knights and castles is
counterbalance by the iconoclast’s itch to shatter that world of sham
and injustice, w crown and miter lorded it over the commons. The savage
indignation w Twain so loved to unleash found hunting that gratified
him: the prey some resemblance to the contemporary, without committing
him to the consequences of a frontal attack upon modern
authoritarianism, convention, and orthodoxy. A Connecticut Yankee, best
of the cycle, shows just such an ingenious mechanic as Clemens must
often have met on visits to the Hartford shops of Pratt & Whitney, a
Yankee who is swept back in time to Camelot. With one hand he transforms
Arthurian England into a going concern of steam and electricity; with
the other, seeks to plant the seeds of equalitarian-ism. He remarks that
in feudal society six men out of a thousand cracks the whip over their
fellows’ backs: “It seemed to me that what the nine hundred and
ninety-four dupes needed was a new deal.” This passage, as the late
President Roosevelt testified, furnished the most memorable phrase in
modern American government. The Connecticut Yankee asserts that the mass
of a nation can always produce “the material in abundance whereby to
govern itself.” Yet the medieval mob is shown collectively to be
gullible, vicious, invincibly ignorant, like the populace of Hannibal or
Hartford, so that the Yankee sets up not a true democracy but a benign
dictatorship centering in himself and his mechanical skills—a kind of
technocrat’s Utopia. Dazzled by the wonders of applied science, Mark
Twain always hoped for social as well as technological miracles from the
dynamo.

Twain’s apotheosis of the Virgin—in terms of Henry Adams’ dilemma— of
spiritual forces in conflict with materialism and the stupid cruelty of
organized society, appears in Joan of Arc. The Maid was his favorite
character in history. But as Twain’s imagination is better thankless
knowledge of medieval life, the result at best is a tour de force.

Joan anonymously, in hope of giving this book a head start the-world had
come synonymous with comedy. Indeed, most people continued to hail with
uproarious mirth Mark Twain’s explosive attacks upon power politics,
imperialism, malefactors of great wealth, hypocrisy in morals and
religion, and other manifestations of what he increasingly came to call
“the damned human race.” They refused to forget “The Celebrated Jumping
Frog,” or his reputation for convulsing any crowd whenever his mouth was
opened. Meanwhile, as the satirist gained upper hand over the humorist
in his nature, and age diminished his ebullience, Mark Twain not only
earnest vainly for a serious nearing also came role of platform zany.

Lecturing, however, became a need more urgent than ever. For, beginning
with the Panic of 1893, the tide of Mark Twain’s luck suddenly changed.
The famous writer, with ample cash in hand and enviable royalties
rolling in, still vigorous in health and self-confidence, the adoring
husband and beloved anther of three charming daughters—this self-made
“jour” printer and river-Dustman whom the world delighted to honor—upon
him fortune suddenly began to rain The first losses were financial. The
Paige typesetting machine, brain child of an erratic inventor who came
close to anticipating the fabulous success of Merge talker’s linotype,
failed after years of costly maintenance from Clemens1 pocket; instead
of making millions, he lost hundreds of thousands. Then the publishing
firm of Charles L. Webster (named for the son-in-law of Mark’s sister,
but backed by the author himself through suspicion of the big commercial
publishers) crashed into bankruptcy. Twain’s new friend Henry H. Rogers,
Standard Oil magnate and by the lights of the muckraking age a robber
baron, advised him that the ethics of literature were higher than those
of business, and “you must earn the cent per cent.” Mark’s own
conscience fully acquiesced. Even though his old exuberant energy was
flagging, he set out in 1895 on a world lecture tour, after giving a
statement to the press:

The law recognizes no mortgage on a man’s brain, and a merchant who has
given up all he has may take advantage of the laws of insolvency and
start free again for himself. But I am not a business man, and honor is
a harder master than the law. It cannot compromise for less than 100
cents on the cellular and its debts never outlaw.

The profits, together with royalties and the astute management of Mr.
Rogers, eventually enabled him to pay the last dollar to these creditors
and add an American parallel to the case of Sir Walter Scott.

Twain’s last notable book about American life, Muttonhead Wilson (1894),
written on the brink of financial disaster but before the onset of
deeper tragedies, is about a nonconformist who is too witty and wise for
the backwoods community where his days are spent; miscalled
“Muttonhead,” he at last wins recognition by solving a murder mystery
through his hobby of fingerprints. In so doing he also unravels a case
of transposed identities for which the Regress Proxy—a character of
magnificent vigor and realism—had been responsible. The novel is a
daring, though inconclusive, study of miscegenation. Significant of Mark
Twain’s growing pessimism are the cynical chapter mottoes ascribed
“Calendar,” such as: “If you pick up a starving dog and make him
prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference
between a dog and a man.” Or, still more typical to the aging Twain;
“Whoever has lived long enough to find out what life » Mark Twain The
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn M. Prosveshcheniye 1986 pp.13, 26, 78,
134, 145, 149knows how deep a debt of gratitude we owe to Adam, the
first great * factor of our race. He brought death into the world.”

These notes—the ingratitude and folly of man, the vanity of wishes, the
praise of death as the nepenthe for life’s tragedy—echo increase kingly
through the later writings of Mark Twain, This drift was no nature, but
the accentuation of a lifelong trend. In youth he had been object to
fits of melancholy and disillusion. In Cincinnati at the age of twenty
he had listened avidly to a homespun philosopher expound the gospel of
scientific determinism; as a cub pilot he read Tom Paine “with fear and
hesitation.” Later, in San Francisco, Mark said he had come within a
trigger’s breadth of suicide, and in 1876 for obscure causes yielded to
a bad season of the blues. Still later he discovered Jonathan Edwards,
brooding for days over the “dominion of Motive and Necessity,” and was
powerfully drawn to the agnosticism of Huxley, Haeckel, and Ingersoll.
As a boy he had been terrorized by the fickle and vindictive Jehovah of
Sunday schools; as a youth he graduated to the God of scientific law,
impersonal but just; as an old man he returned to the cruel God, now
stripped of anthropomorphic whims, but no less terrible as causation and
fate. As early as 1882, in an unpublished dialogue between Negroes
written on his river trip, Mark Twain sketched out the logic elaborated
sixteen years later in his “wicked book” What Is Man?—not printed until
1906, then privately and anonymously because boastingly
incontrovertible. Its argument, developed between an earnest Young Man
and a cynical Old Man, is that self-interest and self-approval are the
mainsprings of human conduct, however cleverly they mask themselves as
honor, charity, altruism, or love. Hunger for self-esteem is the master
passion; under this demon of the ego, free will is nothing but illusion.

While Mark was lecturing around the world for “honor,” news reached him
that back home his favorite daughter Suzy had suddenly succumbed to
meningitis. Would the girl have died if her parents had not deserted
her? It was perhaps a foolish question, but natural to a self-accusing
heart like Clemens’. Unpublished papers bear witness to his bitterness
in those days, savage reflections about how God gives us breath and
bodies only to undermine us with the million plagues of disease and
heartbreak, to show what Twain calls His “fatherly infatuation” toward
us. Meanwhile Mrs. Clemens sank deeper and deeper into a hopeless
invalidism that ended only with the mercy of her death in 1904; and
their daughter Jean, whose moods had long puzzled them, was discovered
to be an incurable epileptic. Mark Twain’s own robust health was
beginning to crumble, and—as a still more tragic circumstance to the
artist who had begun to use hard work as an anodyne for griffins
magnificent creative powers were now sadly on the wane. His unpublished
papers are full of fragmentary stories and novels that simply would not
come out right, and were endlessly reworked, rewritten, finally
abandoned. Many e reminiscent, in plot and character, of his golden
period; the magician fell upon his old repertory, made the same passes,
but somehow failed to with personal revelation. Twain in pet tormenting
himself, in a dozen allegorical disguises, with the began to rain blow.
The first losses were financial. The Paige typesetting machine, brain
child of an “erratic” inventor “who came close to anticipating the
fabulous success of linotype, failed after years of costly maintenance
from Clemens’ pocket; instead of making millions, he lost hundreds of
thousands. Then the publishing firm of Charles L. Webster (named for the
son-in-law of Mark’s sister, but backed by the author himself through
suspicion of the big commercial publishers) crashed into bankruptcy.
Twain’s new friend Henry H. Rogers, Standard Oil magnate and by the
lights of the muckraking age a robber baron, advised him that the ethics
of literature were higher than those of business, and “you must earn the
cent per cent.” Mark’s own conscience fully acquiesced. Even though his
old exuberant energy was flagging, he set out in 1895 on a world lecture
tour, after giving a statement to the press:

The law recognizes no mortgage on a man’s brain, and a merchant who has
given up all he has may take advantage of the laws of insolvency and
start free again for himself. But I am not a business man, and honor is
a harder master than the law. It cannot compromise for less than 100
cents on the dollar and its debts never outlaw.

The profits, together with royalties and the astute management of Mr.
Rogers, eventually enabled him to pay the last dollar to these creditors
and add an American parallel to the case of Sir Walter Scott.

Twain’s last notable book about American life, Wilson (1894), written on
the brink of financial disaster but before the onset of deeper
tragedies, is about a nonconformist who is too witty and wise for the
backwoods community where his days are spent; miscalled he at last wins
recognition by solving a murder mystery through his hobby of
fingerprints. In so doing he also unravels a case of transposed
identities for which the Negress Roxy—a character of magnificent vigor
and realism—had been responsible. The novel is a daring, though
inconclusive, study of miscegenation. Significant of Mark Twain’s
growing pessimism are the cynical chapter mottoes ascribed to
“Calendar,” such as: “If you pick up a starving dog and make him
prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference
between a dog and a man.” Or, still more typical pi the aging Twain:
“Whoever has lived long enough to find out what life is, knows how deep
a debt of gratitude we owe to Adam, the first great be*16′ factor of our
race. He brought death into the world.”

These notes—the ingratitude and folly of man, the vanity of hum wishes,
the praise of death as the nepenthe for life’s tragedy—echo increasingly
through the later writings of Mark Twain. This drift was no A nurture,
but the accentuation of a lifelong trend. In youth he had been object to
fits of melancholy and disillusion. In Cincinnati at the age of twenty
listened avidly to a homespun philosopher expound the gospel of
determinism; as a cub pilot he read Tom Paine “with fear and
hesitation.” in San Francisco, Mark said he had come within a trigger’s
breadth of suicide, and in 1876 for obscure causes yielded to a bad
season of the blues. Still later he discovered Jonathan Edwards,
brooding for days over the “dominion of Motive and Necessity,” and was
powerfully drawn to the agnosticism of Huxley, Hackle, and Innersole. As
a boy he had been terrorized by the fickle and vindictive Jehovah of
Sunday schools; as a youth he graduated to the God of scientific law,
impersonal but just; as an old man he returned to the cruel God, now
stripped of anthropomorphic whims, but no less terrible as causation and
fate. As early as 1882, in an unpublished dialogue between Negroes
written on his river trip, Mark Twain sketched out the logic elaborated
sixteen years later in his “wicked book” What Is Man? — not printed
until 1906, then privately and anonymously because boastingly
incontrovertible. Its argument, developed between an earnest Young Man
and a cynical Old Man, is that self-interest and self-approval are the
mainsprings of human conduct, however cleverly they mask themselves as
honor, charity, altruism, or love. Hunger for self-esteem is the master
passion; under this demon of the ego, free will is nothing but illusion.

While Mark was lecturing around the world for “honor,” news reached him
that back home his favorite daughter Suzy had suddenly succumbed to
meningitis. Would the girl have died if her parents had not deserted
her? It was perhaps a foolish question, but natural to a self-accusing
heart like Clemens’. Unpublished papers bear witness to his bitterness
in those days, savage reflections about how God gives us breath and
bodies only to undermine us with the million plagues of disease and
heartbreak, to show what Twain calls His “fatherly infatuation” toward
us. Meanwhile Mrs. Clemens sank deeper and deeper into a hopeless
invalidism that ended only with the mercy of her death in 1904 Mark
Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn M. Prosveshcheniye 1986 pp.13,
26, 78, 134, 145, 149; and their daughter Jean, whose moods had long
puzzled them, was discovered to be an incurable epileptic. Mark Twain’s
own robust health was beginning to crumble, and — as a still more tragic
circumstance to the artist who had begun to use hard work as an anodyne
for grief — is magnificent creative powers were now sadly on the wane.
His unpublished papers are full of fragmentary stories and novels that
simply would not come, and were endlessly reworked, rewritten, finally
abandoned. Many re reminiscent, in plot and character, of his golden
period; the magician fell upon his old repertory, made the same passes,
but somehow failed to quant with personal revelation. Twain in kept
tormenting him, in a dozen allegorical disguises, with the problem of
“guilt” which (as his Calvinist conscience whispered) must somehow be
antecedent to punishment, the cause of all the failures and bereavements
fate had inflicted upon him. The artist keeps asking himself: Was I to
blame, for something I did or left undone? The motif of a doting father
with a dead or missing child is frequent, and of course transparent.

One such story concerns the dream of a man who has fallen asleep after
gazing at a drop of water, swimming with animalcule, beneath the
microscope. He dreams that he is on shipboard in the Antarctic seas
pursuing his lost child who has been carried off by another ship, in a
chase that continues like some nightmare in a fever, while terrible
creatures arise to roam the deep and snatch passengers off the deck. The
captain of the ship is called the Superintendent of Dreams, and it is
his cunning to destroy the seafarers’ sense of reality, while they
circle toward the ultimate horror of the Great White Glare —actually the
beam cast through the microscope’s field by the reflector—a vortex of
death into which all things, including the craft with the missing child,
are being drawn. Seldom has determinism found a grimmer symbol.

The greatest story of Mark Twain’s later period, too often neglected in
the appraisal to his work, wins at last the personal answer for which he
sought so desperately. In the light of those unfinished manuscripts
among the Mark Twain Papers, it attains true perspective. This is The
Mysterious Stranger, begun in the gloom of 1898 after Susy’s death and
Jean’s hopeless prognosis, but not finished until several years later
and published post- Like the last act of a Greek tragedy, or Samson
Agonistes with “all passion spent,” it achieves a wintry serenity beyond
despair. The story is that of _some boys who are really Tom Sawyer’s
gang in medieval dress, in the Austrian village of Eelworm, who strike
up acquaintance with a supernatural visitor able to work miracles and
juggle with lives. Calling himself “Satan,” he claims relationship with
the prince of fallen angels, but appears to live in a sphere beyond both
good and evil. Laughter and tears, joy and torment, saintliness and sin,
to him are but as the sound of lyres and flutes, and at last he grows
bored with his own wonder-working caprices. He then tells the wide-eyed
Theodora.

It is true, that which I have revealed to you; there is no God, no
universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all
a dream—a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And you
are but a thought—a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless
thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!

And in his heart of hearts the boy knows this is true. Here, in the
closing pages of The Mysterious Stranger, Mark Twain solved his riddle
of grief, and clothed his soul in the only invulnerable armor of
desperation. Good and evil, like reality itself, are only illusions,
such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with
the best gift of the Artist who saves it to the last—extinction..

Like Hailey’s comet in 1835 and 1910, whose appearance Mark Twain saw as
setting the beginning and the end of his life, the luster of his genius
flashed forth now and again against this darkened sky of fatalism. He
wrote and spoke with sparkles of his old wit, and few were aware of the
encircling. Oxford gave him her degree of Doctor of Letters in 1907, and
his birthdays became national events. In his famous white clothes he
seemed a kind of ghost from America’s buried life, recalling the
nostalgia of her youth, revisiting these glimpses of the modern city and
its vast industrialism. But his great creative genius had almost
gone—that energy which he spent and squandered so freely, when he had
it, with the recklessness of the Old West. For Mark Twain the artist had
always been a kind of pocket miner, stumbling like fortune’s darling
upon native ore of incredible richness and exploiting it with effortless
skill—but often gleefully mistaking fool’s gold for the genuine article,
or lavishing his strength upon historical diggings long since played
out. If latterly he seemed to deny his role as America’s great comic
spirit, perhaps the key can be found in his last travel book:
“Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of Humor itself is not
joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.”

8.2 Simpletons abroad (American literature abroad)

England had welcomed the American writers of the classical period, and
continued to read them for some time after they had begun to be
neglected by the American public. In a middle-class English home about
the year 1900, Emerson would stand on the shelves next to Carlyle,
Longfellow next to Tennyson (with signs of being more frequently read)
and Lowell next to Matthew Arnold. The new generation rejected them all,
the Bostonians along with the native Victorians. To the younger English
intellectuals of the time, the only transatlantic authors worth reading,
except Whitman and Thoreau, were the new social realists, from Garland
through Norris to Upton Sinclair. Dreiser’s Sister Carrie was a critical
success in London, when published there in 1901, although it had been
arousing such a bitterly quiet condemnation in New York that the
author—till then a successful journalist—found that his articles were
“being rejected by all the magazines.

The English were usually hospitable to American writers as persons,
often more hospitable than they were to imported books. During there was
a large American literary colony in what was still called the mother
country: it included the aging Bret Hart, Henry James, Harold Frederic,
Pearl from Boston (who wrote under the name John Oliver Hobbes), Howard
Sturgis (author of the fine but neglected Belchamber), Henry Harland
(who founded and edited the Yellow Booty, and, for his last two years,
Stephen Crane. Most of these authors had a more appreciative public in
England than in the United States; for example, Bret Hare’s new books
continued to be read in their English editions long after most Americans
had forgotten that he was still a living author. Stephen Crane, who
could not complain of being neglected at home, could justly complain of
being pursued there by scandals that the English found beneath their
notice. Henry James, with no larger audience in London than in New York,
at least found more of the happy few to understand his work. The same
hospitality in later years would be shown to Ezra Pound, Conrad Aiken,
Hilda Doolittle (“H. D.”), and T. S. Eliot, the last of who became a
British subject in 1927, like James in 1915 The Correspondence of
Samuel L.Clemens and William D.Howells. 1872-1910. Vols. 1-2. Harvard
Universily Press, 1960 .

At the turn of the century, some of the larger American magazines were
printing English editions; that of Harper’s was edited by Andrew Lang
and had a British circulation of 100,000. Many American books crossed
the Atlantic. In the October, 1904, issue of World’s Work, Chalmers
Roberts broadly asserted that ten American books were being published in
England where one had been published twenty years before. He was not
surprised by the fondness of the English public for the genteel writings
of James Lane Alien, a phenomenon remarked upon by many critics. What
amazed him was the English success of American rural novels like David
Harum, Eben Holden, and Mrs. Wigs of the Cabbage Patch, all of which he
described as being “intensely foreign and full of detail quite
unintelligible to the average Briton.”

Shortly after 1910, however, the British public showed signs of losing
interest in American fiction, except for commodities like the works of
Zane Grey and Edgar Rice Burroughs (who afterward claimed that the
globe-girdling adventures of Tarzan had been translated into fifty-six
languages). American magazines discontinued their London editions. As
for the serious American novelists, English critics learned to say that
they were ten or twenty or fifty years behind the times. A few critics,
however, had begun to discover the new American poets—Robinson, Masters,
Sandburg, Lindsay— sometimes before they were known in the United
States; for example, Robert Frost had his first two books published in
London.

There were new American novelists, too, but they had few English readers
during the First World War; one of its effects was to keep the two
countries apart intellectually, even after they became allies. In 1920
the English publisher of Main Street was so little impressed by Sinclair
Lewis’ American success that he began by merely importing a few hundred
sets of printer’s sheets; it was not until later that he had the novel
printed in England. Main Street was never popular there, although it was
more generally liked in Australia, which, more than New Zealand makes
its own choice of American books. Babbitt, however, was the English best
seller of 1922; and when its author next visited London he was received
like the general of an Allied army. “England,” Lewis told his hosts,
with his redheaded gift for speaking his mind, “can no longer be the
mother country to American literature, any more than she can be the
mother country to American politics or American life.” The English
listened, protested, argued with one another, and came to believe that
Lewis was right.

Babbitt was the beginning of a new era, during which American books were
not only read but imitated. On their different literary levels,
Hemingway, Edmund Wilson, James Thurber, Damon Runyon, and Dash ell
Ham-met each had English disciples, who sometimes improved on their
various models. Graham Greene, for example, wrote English gangster
novels that had a psychological depth lacking in his American
precursors, except Hemingway. A younger Englishman, Peter Cheney, stuck
to his models closely, so much so that one of his stories was included
(1945) in a French anthology of the new American writing. The editor had
learned of Cheney’s nationality before the volume went to press, but had
kept him with the others because of his American style. By this time,
however, styles and influences were flying back and forth across the
Atlantic; and the English imitators of the American hard-boiled
novelists—Graham Greene especially—were finding American imitators in
their turn. Among poets the transatlantic relations were even closer. T.
S. Eliot was the strongest early influence on the new English poets of
the thirties such as Auden (before he came to live in the States),
Spender, and Manlike; while Auden in turn set the tone for American
poets in the forties.

The American vogue continued year after year. In 1938 an English
publisher reported that all the novels since Babbitt with a sale of more
than 100,000 copies in England had been of American origin. American
magazines were also read: especially Time (which had two English
imitations), the Readers Digest (with an English edition), and the New
Yorker, which, in the brighter circles, was quoted more often than
Punch. In 1942 one-quarter of the new trade books listed in English
publishers’ catalogues had been written in the States. By 1946, however,
the percentage of transatlantic imports was beginning to decline.

In France it was still growing. Not only were the French translating or
planning to translate dozens of the more prominent American novelists
and the plays of Eugene O’Neill; they were also discovering and
publishing, in the midst of a paper shortage, American books that had
been largely neglected at home; for example, the fantastic Miss Lonely
hearts, by Nathanael West, which had been published here in 1933 and had
promptly gone out of print. At the same time they showed a renewed
interest in the American classics. The first French translation of Moby
appeared during the German occupation, together with a somewhat
fictionalized biography of Melville by Jean Giono; and a translation of
The Scarlet Letter was published in 1946.

The French had read most of the American classical authors when they
first appeared, but had forgotten them sooner than the English. There
were a few striking exceptions: notably Cooper and Poe, who were carried
over bodily into French literature and remain an integral part of it.
Among the Americans writing at the turn of the century, Henry James had
a few careful French readers, and exercised a still undetermined
influence on Marcel Proust. Jack London had a wider public; he inherited
the French popularity of Bret Harte. .Edith Wharton, who lived in
France, had most of her books translated; they were praised in the terms
that are usually applied to estimable but unexciting French novels. Most
of the other living American writers were little known even in Paris;
and their country was regarded, in general, as the literary home of
cowboys, miners, trappers, and the inimitable Nick Carter, whose weekly
adventures were then appearing in France, as in fifteen other foreign
countries.

The First World War, which tended to separate us intellectually from the
English, thus marking the end of what might be called the second
colonial period in American letters, was an occasion for renewing old
literary ties with the French. Much has been written about the flight of
American writers to Paris during the twenties; it is not so generally
known that there was a smaller but influential movement of French
writers and scholars in the opposite direction. The migration began
under French government auspices, with professors from the Sorbonne
encouraged to make American tours and lecture at American universities.
They were shortly followed by a selected group of French postgraduate
students, some of whom carried home with them a wide knowledge of
American authors. Chairs of American Civilization and Literature were
founded at several of the French universities: at Paris (where Charles
Cestre was the incumbent), Grenoble, Lille, Aix-Marseille, and
elsewhere. French students working in the field produced what is
probably the largest group of scholarly studies of American literature
that exists in any foreign language.

But interest in American culture was also growing in a quite different
circle, that of the younger avant-garde writers. Finding not much hope
in Europe after the war, they were looking for new material, new ideas,
and new ways of life. A sort of romantic Americanism became the vogue
among them after 1920: they were connoisseurs of American films,
especially Westerns, they read the advertisements in the Saturday
Evening Post, they dreamed of living in a New York skyscraper (though
few of them, in life, got beyond making a single brief voyage), and they
even dressed in what they thought was the American fashion, wearing
belts instead of suspenders and shaving their upper lips; whereas the
young Americans who were running off to France in those years were
connoisseurs of French books and French wines and liked to wear little
French mustaches. These were superficial signs on both sides, but they
were an indication of tastes that proved to be lasting. The young
American writers were deeply influenced by French literature in the
Symbolist tradition; the young French writers were looking for American
books that would express the picturesque qualities they found in
American life; and when the books began to appear in translation, after
1930, they seized upon them enthusiastically.

The Index Translationum, published for eight years by the Institute of
Intellectual Cooperation of the League of Nations, lists the titles and
authors of all the books translated into the major European languages
between 1932 and 1940. During that period there were 332 French
translations of American books in the field of general literature. Jack
London stands at the head of the list with twenty-seven titles, and
James Oliver Cur wood follows with twenty; both these adventure-story
writers were old favorites with the French public, although their day
was passing. Sinclair Lewis and Edgar Allan Foe have fourteen titles
each; Ellery Queen has ten detective stories; Pearl Buck has nine of her
books; Edgar Rice Burroughs, Louis Bromfield, and Henry James all have
seven. Farther down the list are the new authors that the younger
generation was reading: William Faulkner with five titles, Ernest
Hemingway and Dashiell Hammett with four, John Dos Passes and Erskine
Caldwell with three. None of these last reached the broadest French
public, but all of them had what Lewis and Bromfield and Pearl Buck
failed to achieve, that is, a direct influence on the style and content
of the new French writing.

Faulkner, comparatively little known at home, had gained an amazingly
deep and lasting French reputation. Andre Gide called him “one of the
most important, perhaps the most important, of the stars in this new
constellation”; and Jean-Paul Sartre was more extreme in his praise:
“For young writers in France,” he said in 1945, “Faulkner is a god.”
Many French critics were disturbed by what seemed to them the completely
foreign quality of the new American novelists. The newspaper man in
Gide’s Imaginary Interviews says:

I grant you Hemingway, since he is the most European of them all. As for
the others, I have to confess that their strangeness appalls me. I
thought I would go mad with pain and horror when I read Faulkner’s
Sanctuary and his Light in August. Dos Passos makes me suffocate. I
laugh, it is true, when reading Caldwell’s Journeyman or God’s Little
Acre, but I laugh on the wrong side of my mouth. . . . If one believes
what they are saying, the American cities and country sides must offer a
foretaste of hell.

But if one believes what Flaubert said a hundred years ago French cities
also must have been an abode of the damned. All these American
novelists, except possibly Caldwell, were students of Flaubert; they had
been applying methods learned from him to American materials. Now their
books were being studied in turn by Flaubert’s countrymen.

Most of the other European countries followed either the French or the
British pattern in their choice of American books. A novel that was a
best seller in England, like Kenneth Roberts’ Northwest Passage, would
also be a best seller in Germany and Scandinavia. An author admired by
the French for his intensity or his technical discoveries would also be
admired by other Latin nations. Almost everywhere there was a lack of
interest in American literature during the years after 1000 and a birth
or rebirth of interest at some moment after 1920. This new interest
appeared earlier in the northern countries, because they liked Dreiser
and Lewis, and later in the Latin countries, which showed more interest
in younger writers like Hemingway and Faulkner. There were, however,
national variations in the two general patterns; and in Russia after the
Revolution the variations were so wide as to form a new pattern of their
own.

Germany between 1890 and 1945 was another special case that has to be
considered in some detail. In the Kaiser’s Germany, Mark Twain had been
by far the most popular American author; there were exactly 100
translations of his various works between 1890 and 1913. After him came
Anna Katharine Green, the early detective-story writer, with eighty-one
translations; then Bret Harte, Frances Hodgson Burnett, F. Marion
Crawford, and Lew Wallace, the author of Ben-Hur. More than half the
novels of American origin translated into German during the twenty-four
years before the First World War were the work of these six writers. The
most admired American poet was Walt Whitman, although his greatest
popularity would come later, during the early years of the Weimar
Republic. Emerson was the favorite American essayist.

After the war, the Germans were eager for books that dealt with American
industry, the power by which they felt they had been defeated and
especially eager for anything that dealt with Henry Ford. What they
looked for in American books was information first of all, but they were
better pleased if the information was presented critically; therefore
they joked Theodore Dreiser (who was for several years the most popular
American libraries), Sinclair Lewis, Upton Sinclair, and, in general,
all the critical realists. Hemingway was admired by the younger German
writers who would later go into exile, but most of them were puzzled by
his habit of understatement. When a German novelist wants to convey
sadness or mild regret, he is likely to say that he was overwhelmed by
waves of intolerable grief. When Hemingway wants to imply that his hero
was overwhelmed by waves of intolerable grief, as at the end of A
Farewell to Arms, he says that he “walked back to the hotel in the
rain”; and the Germans did not know what to make of it. Thomas Wolfe,
who never used a little word when he could find three big ones, was an
author more to their taste. Loofy Homeward, Angel appealed to young
people of all political faiths, before and after Hitler’s coming to
power. There were good as well as sinister qualities in the German youth
movement, and some of the better ones were mirrored at a distance in
Wolfe’s hero.

The strength of the Socialist and Communist parties under the Weimar
Republic helped to create a public for American authors with radical sym
patties: not only for Upton Sinclair and Jack_Lqndon, but also for John
Dos Passos, whose books at one time had a larger circulation in Germany
than in the United States. Another writer admired by the German radicals
was Agnes Smedley, whose autobiography, Daughter of Earth, is
comparatively little known in her own country, although it has been
translated into fourteen languages. In Germany, where it was called Eine
Frau Allein, it was especially popular among women seeking courage to
lead independent lives.

Miss Smedley’s various books on the Chinese Revolution were also widely
read until 1933, when they were all withdrawn from circulation. It was
the same with Dreiser Sinclair, Dos Passos, and Hemingway, none of whose
works appeared in Germany between 10,33 and 1946; they were the best
known of the many American authors who suffered from Hitler’s burning
continued to be published in spite of his having written the anti-Nazi
It Can’t Happen Here. The Index Translationum shows that five of his
novels were translated into German between 1932 and 1940. There were
eight translations of Pearl Buck during the same period, more than of
any other serious American author; perhaps her work was thought to be
politically harmless because it dealt with China and, unlike Agnes
Smedley’s, made no plea for the Chinese Communists. Very few American
books were published in Hitler’s Germany if they dealt with contemporary
Europe or America in any thoughtful fashion, no matter whether their
authors were radical or conservative. The German public was still
curious about our literature, but was offered, in general, only romance,
adventure, mystery, and sentiment.

The Index Translationum lists 297 German translations from American
originals in the field of general literature, a figure not far from the
French total of 332. There is, however, a difference in quality. Nearly
half the German list consists of Westerns and detective stories, with
Max Brand, a mass purveyor of cowboy fiction, standing at the head of it
with twenty-six titles. Historical romances were popular as an escape
from daily life under a dictatorship: Anthony Adverse, ‘Northwest
Passage, and especially Gone with the Wind, which by 1941 had achieved
the huge German sale of 360,693 copies; then it, disappeared from the
bookstores with the demand for it still unsatisfied. Grapes of Wrath was
circulated with official approval after Pearl Harbor, presumably on the
ground that its picture of the Okies would serve as anti-American
propaganda. Instead, what it proved to most of its readers was that
American peasants at their most destitute could travel about the country
in automobiles, and that American writers were free to speak their minds
in epical novels, at a time when German literature was being stifled.
American books were read hungrily after the war ended, although few were
available. Daughter of Earth was republished and even serialized in a
Berlin newspaper; Thorn ton Welder’s The Sin of Our Teeth was the hit of
the German theaters.

In Sweden, and the other Scandinavian countries, there was not much
interest in American literature before the middle twenties, although
there was great interest in a few American writers. Mark Twain in
particular enjoyed the same popularity as in Germany. The chief
librarian of the Royal Swedish Library, Mr. O. H. Wieselgren, said in a
letter that he was given the Swedish translation of Huckleberry Finn as
a birthday present when he was ten years old.

I read the book [he continued] so that I learned It by heart. The
Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, was translated in 1906. Sinclair since that
time has been very widely read, and his social views have a great
importance for the working class in our country. The Harbor, by Ernest
Poole, was translated in 1915 and met with great interest. But the most
admired of all American authors in Sweden has been and is still Jack
London. His first books carne in translation in 1909-10, and since that
time he has appeared in innumerable editions. In public libraries he is
still the most sought-for American author.

Interest in American literature, as opposed to interest in particular
writers, began with the visit to the United States of the influential
critic G. Ruben Berg. On his return to Sweden in 1925, he published
Modern Americana, in which he gave an account of the new authors who had
appeared since 1910, with much space devoted to Sinclair Lewis. Most of
the authors he mentioned were translated into Swedish during the years
that, and in 1930 first American. To win the Nobel Prize for literature,
which is awarded by the Swedish Academy. Eugene O’Neill was the second,
in 1936; he had always acknowledged his debt to be even more popular in
Strindberg’s country than in the rest of Europe. Pearl Buck, who won the
prize in 1938, was also particularly liked in Sweden. Ten of her books
appeared there between 1932 and 1940, more than were translated from any
other American author during the years covered by the Index
Translationum. In all, the Index lists 213 American books in the field
of general literature that were published in Sweden: a curious selection
from new and half-forgotten authors, with Louisa May Alcott rubbing
elbows with Dashiell Hammett. “The ‘hard-boiled’ literature plays an
important role for our younger authors,” Mr. Wieselgren notes. “I think
no literature has during the last decade been more important and more
read here than the American.”

The last statement would also apply to Norway and Denmark. In the latter
country, Pearl Buck was the most popular American author from 1932 to
1939 best sellers like Anthony Adverse and Gone with the Wind), but way
and her by 1940. Holland, however, was in a different situation.
Sheltered from transatlantic winds by the British Isles, it received
most of its American books indirectly, after they had first become
popular in London. In general it made no distinction between British and
American literature.

Under Mussolini the Italian censorship was in theory not very strict;
the only two American novelists whose works are known to have been
forbidden were Hemingway (after his description of the Italian retreat
in A Farewell to Arms) and were removed by decree from public libraries.
Still, the whole effect of Fascist policy was to discourage, in a quiet
way, the translation of authors from the democratic countries. The
Italian public heard little about the new American literature and, like
the Dutch public, it made no sharp distinction between American books
and English books—usually preferring the latter, just as it preferred
French books to either. Even after the liberation, when the Italians set
to work translating the foreign works they had missed for the previous
twenty years, there were not many American authors in the early
publishers’ lists (Steinbeck, Vincent Sheena, Kenneth Roberts); more
attention was paid to the new French and English poets and the classical
Russian novelists.

In Spain, American books and American movies had a brief vogue under the
Republic. There was a time when the younger Spanish poets, probably
influenced by their French colleagues, wrote nostalgically about
gangsters and skyscrapers and in some cases made pilgrimages to New
York; that was also the time when the news stands in Barcelona and
Madrid were full of American magazines; but the vogue ended with the
civil war. American books were suspect in Franco’s Spain; even Gone with
the Wind was not published there until 1943.

But Gone with the Wind, which eventually appeared in all the other
European countries and was read by both sides during the early years of
the Second World War, was never published in Soviet Russia. In their
choice of American books for translation, the Russians followed a
pattern of their own, one that began to be discernible even before their
Revolution. From the beginning they liked American books if they were
realistic or humorous or heroic in treatment, if they were democratic in
sentiment, if they dealt with life in a great city or, still better,
with adventures on the frontier, and if the characters were
representative of the American masses. Cooper was the first American
author to win lasting favor in Russia; then came Harriet Beecher Stowe;
then Bret Hatred and Mark Twain; and then, in 1910, Jack London, whose
popularity increased when he was universally regarded as a socialist
writer after the 1917 Revolution—he was the author whom Krupskaya,
Lenin’s widow, read to her husband on his deathbed.

After 1918 there was a State Publishing House in Russia; but there were
also commercial publishers until 1928, and they competed for books by
American writers. Of these Jack London was still the most widely read:
from 1918 to 1929 there were six editions of his collected works in
twelve to thirty-volume sets? Upton Sinclair was almost at popular, his
books being regarded as a mine of information about capitalistic
society. There was such a scramble for the right to publish them that
Lunacharsky, the People’s Commissar of Education, put an end to it in
1925 by officially designating Sinclair as a Soviet classic, thus
putting him on the same pinnacle as Tolstoy and Pushkin, and,
incidentally, vesting the Russian copyright to his books in the State
Publishing House.

O. Henry was another favorite, not only with the masses but also with
many of the Soviet writers, who studied him for his technique (so that
stories with an O. Henry twist were being published in Russia at a time
when American short-story writers were imitating Chekhov). James Oliver
Cur-wood was enough like London in his themes and settings to be liked
for the same reasons; there were forty-two editions of his separate
novels between 1925 and 1927. Other American authors published at about
the same time were Sherwood Anderson (studied by serious Russian
writers), Sinclair Lewis^ Booth Tarkington (Penrod), Edna Ferber (So Big
and Rex Beach, and Zane Grey. During all period’ the general popularity?
American books continued to increase. In six months of 1912, there had
been seven American authors published in Russia as against twenty-two
English authors; in six months of 1928, there were forty-two Americans
and thirty-seven Englishmen.

In 1928, at the beginning of the first Five Year Plan, the state took
over the whole Russian publishing trade. There was a change in the
character of the books selected for translation: Rex Beach, Zane Grey,
and other popular entertainers disappeared from the lists of the
state-controlled publishing houses. In their place came several
proletarian novelists of the American depression years: Michael Gold,
Jack Conroy, Albert Halper, all of whom reached a Russian audience
several times as large as their audience at home. A complete edition of
Dreiser’s works was published in 1930; it was called the literary event
of the year. Dos Passes was the most widely read American author, in
literary circles, from 1932 to 1934; at one time the Organization
Committee of Soviet Writers conducted a formal discussion of his work
that lasted for three heated and dialectical evenings. From 1935 to 1939
or later, Hemingway occupied a similar position; he too wistful subject
of an organized discussion by Soviet writers, and his technical
influence on them seems to have been more extensive and more lasting
than that of Dos Passos (whose books, incidentally, continued to be
published in Russia in spite of the strongly anti-Communist position
which he took after 1935).

Hemingway was translated in full; and all his books reached a wide
audience except For Whom the Bell Tolls, which had been set in type when
the publishers became worried by a long passage attacking Andre Marty by
name. Marty, the French Communist”was at that time a refugee in Russia,
and a publishing house controlled by the state did not like to be put in
the position of endorsing what it regarded as a slander against him. The
result was that the volume never went to press, although the proof
sheets were read attentively by most of the writers in Moscow. Erskine
Caldwell and John Steinbeck are two other widely translated Americans
whom the Russian writers admired. At the same time both men reached the
general public, which also liked Pearl Buck, Richard Wright’s Native
Son, and, during the war years, John Hersey’s A Bell for Adano.

Control of the publishing industry by the Soviet state kept many books
out of Russia and promises to keep out many others during the postwar
years of international tension. It also led to the translation of books
with more political than commercial appeal; but apparently it had no
deep effect on the literary preferences of the Russian people. They
continued to like the American authors whom they liked from the
beginning; and in general the state-controlled publishers supplied them
with the books they demanded. The Russians are fond of exact figures:
when they say that Jack London has been” the most popular of all
American authors in the Soviet Union, they support the statement by.
Adding that his various books have been printed in 567 Russian editions,
of which 10,367,000 copies were sold between 1918 and 1943. Mark Twain
comes after him at a distance, with 3,100,000 copies sold during the
same period, and Upton Sinclair comes third, with 2,700,000. In the
twenty-five years that followed the Russian Revolution, there were 217
American authors translated into Russian—again the exact figure,
furnished by the State Publishing House—and the total sale of their
translated books was 36,788,900 copies.

There were not so many of our authors published in Latin America and,
until the Second World War, their appearance were subject to long
delays.

They had to make a double voyage across the Atlantic before reaching
Argentina or Brazil; they traveled by way of Paris, and few of their
books were admitted without a French visa of critical or popular
approval. As in France, some of our Western and Northwestern story
writers found a public easily: Rex Beach, James Oliver Curwood, Zane
Grey. But the only serious North American author who exercised a direct
influence in America Hispana during the twenties was Waldo Frank. He
lectured in all the capitals from Mexico City to Buenos Aires, he spoke
a fluent literary Spanish, and he attacked Yankee imperialism while
defending—and introducing to a sympathetic audience—the rebel American
writers.

Early in 1941, a student of inter-American affairs went through a
collection of the catalogues issued by Spanish-language publishers,
almost all of whom have their headquarters in Santiago de Chile, Buenos
Aires, or Mexico City. He found that they listed seven translations from
Waldo Frank, more than from any other living North American writer.
There were five translations from Sinclair Lewis, four from Steinbeck,
and two each from Dos Passos and Upton Sinclair (though Sinclair had
seven other books issued by smaller, chiefly socialistic, publishers who
printed no catalogues); also the student found translations of
best-selling novels like The Good Earth, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, A
Farewell to Arms, and Gone with the Wind— in all, forty-three volumes
from our current literature, exclusive of technical works, Westerns, and
detective stories. He would have found many more North American books if
he had examined the lists of the same publishers five years later, for
there were a new interest in our literature after Pearl Harbor.

In part this interest resulted from the wartime activities of the Office
of Inter-American Affairs, which sent several of our writers on lecture
tours of South America and subsidized the publication of North American
books that would not otherwise have appeared by paying for their
translation into Spanish and Portuguese. Most of the books it subsidized
were technical or historical; but the Office of Inter-American Affairs
also arranged for the publication in Spanish of a two-volume anthology
of contemporary North American writing, carefully edited by John Peale
Bishop and Alien Tate, There would have been a growing interest in our
literature without such encouragement, for the Latin Americans were
excited by our entrance into the war, they were receiving very few books
from Europe, and they were hearing from many unofficial sources about
the younger North American novelists and poets. Hemingway, Steinbeck,
KatherineAnne Porter, and Crane were among those and Brazilian
intellectuals.

It is hard to gather accurate information about American literature in
the Orient, where, generally speaking, the laws of international
copyright are not enforced. In Japan before the Second World War, they
did not even exist, as regards American books: a treaty negotiated under
the first Roosevelt gave the Japanese permission to translate any
American work without notifying the author. Not even squatter’s right
was recognized, and there was nothing to prevent five Japanese
publishers from presenting five differently garbled translations of the
same novel, as happened in the case of Gone with the Wind. Of three
Japanese versions of Whitman, who had a large following, only one is
said to have had any literary merit. Poe also—his fiction rather than
his verse—was inaccurately rendered and widely read.

After 1930 the ruling clique in Japan tried hard to discourage
“decadent” American influences, including the new American fiction; but
Japanese publishers kept racing to press with competing versions of
American best sellers. Main Street was a success in Japan; so too was
Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth, which was followed by translations of her
later books (even those like The Patriot in which she condemned the
Japanese invasion of China); while Gone with the Wind was the greatest
success of all, having a sale in its various translations of more than
half a million copies. At least twenty-four books by Upton Sinclair were
translated into Japanese. A correspondent told him in 1931, “A term now
often on the lips of people interested in modern literature is Sinkurea
Jidal, which means ‘The Sinclair Era.'” Many of the American proletarian
novelists who flourished in the thirties had larger sales in Japanese,
as in Russian, than they had in their own language; and the censors at
first were rather easy-going. Leafing through the proof sheets of
translations about to be published, they looked chiefly for Japanese
equivalents of three words, “revolution,” “people’s,” and “social.” If
the dangerous words were present, at first they merely deleted them
before approving the book for publication; but later they deleted the
whole chapters in which they appeared and, still later, they began
throwing the translators and publishers into jail. Hide Ozaki, who had
translated Agnes Medley’s Daughter of Earth, was hanged in November,
1944, long after some of Sinclair’s translators had preceded him to the
scaffold. Safire Judaic had ended.

There was also a Sinclair era in China, where at least seventeen of his
books had been published by 1930. Six more were then in process of
translation, but nobody in this country, it would seem knows whether
they appeared. In China the business of publishing foreign books is not
only piratical, as it has been in Japan, but also completely
unorganized. Any bookstore in Shanghai is likely to issue its own
translations without notifying its rivals, let alone the American
authors. Some of these authors have been widely read. There were, for
example, at least three translations of The Good Earth, one of which was
cut and garbled; the other two were widely discussed in the Chinese
press, where some of the reviewers—a minority, as might be
expected—thought that Mrs. Buck had presented a true picture. Gone with
the Wind appeared in one or more unauthorized translations. Lao Shaw,
the author of Rickshaw Boy, reported for the Chinese writers born after
1910 that their chosen American author was Eugene O’Neill, who was also
most influential with the educated public as a whole. Other favorites
were Steinbeck and Saurian.

In India the educated classes read many or most of their American books
in the British colonial editions. Whitman, with what might be called his
profound smattering of Eastern philosophy, has always had followers
there; the greatest of these was Rabindranath Tagore. Gandhi read
Thoreau, who contributed to his philosophy of nonviolent resistance;
also, according to nephew Marinades Gandhi, he read “most if not all” of
Upton Sinclair. No study has been made of recent translations into the
various Indian languages; but it is known that The Good Earth was
rendered at least into Bengali, and possibly into others as well, while
various books by Sinclair have appeared in Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati,
Tamil, Urdu, Tillage, Marathi, and Singhalese.

Beyond a doubt, Sinclair is the most widely translated novelist of the
twentieth century not read for pure entertainment. By 1938 there had
been 713 translations of his various books, which had then been
published in forty-seven languages and thirty-nine countries. There are
several reasons for Sinclair’s international popularity. Shortly after
he wrote The Jungle, which traveled round the world within two years of
its American publication in 1906, he was adopted as a favorite author by
the international working-class movement in both its main branches, the
Menshevik and the Bolshevik, later the Social Democratic and the
Communist. But his books were also read by the middle classes in most of
the countries where they were allowed to circulate, partly because they
all told straightforward, rapidly moving stories, but chiefly because
each of his novels, besides being a story, was a well documented
journalistic survey of some aspect of American life: an industry, a
city, a political movement, or a celebrated trial. The world-wide
interest in Upton Sinclair was also an interest in America as a whole.

From any survey of American books abroad, however incomplete it may be,
we gain a somewhat different picture of American literature at home. We
learn, for example, that it has been richer and more varied than most of
us had suspected from merely reading our choice of each season’s new
fiction or factual reporting. The export of American literary works has
not been standardized, like that of Detroit automobiles; instead each
country has been choosing the American books that met its particular
tastes. Sometimes these books have been the work of authors little known
in the United States who achieved their widest fame in Europe or Asia.
Sometimes American writers have been adopted and, as It were, given
honorary citizenship by the different countries to which their minds
appealed; so that Faulkner in France, Hemingway in Russia (like Jack
London and Mark Twain before him), O’Neill and Pearl Buck in
Scandinavia, Thomas Wolfe in Germany, Waldo Frank in Latin America, and
Upton Sinclair in many parts of the world, but especially in the Orient,
have come to be regarded as almost native authors.

At the same time, there are some American books that have swept across
the world without pausing at national boundaries. Not a few of them were
critical of American standards, and the reason for their popularity is
not hard to explain: foreign readers like to be told that not everything
is perfect in the land of the jukebox and the low-priced automobile.
Most of the universally read books, however, were either adventure
stories (a commercialized branch of fiction in which our writers have a
long tradition of technical skill), or they were epical novels on the
scale of Gone with the Wind and Grapes of Wrath—it did not matter,
apparently, whether they dealt with the past or the present, from a
conservative or a radical point of view, so long as they filled a canvas
as big as the top of a covered wagon, and so long as they told a story
that everyone could follow.

Story, or narrative, according to the English critic Lovat Dickson, is
one of two qualities that distinguish recent American fiction. “To the
outside observer,” he said, “it seemed suddenly to become characteristic
of all American entertainment and to mark it off quite sharply from the
English equivalent. Story suddenly became of first-rate importance, and
appreciation of narrative became a marked American characteristic.” The
other quality Dickson mentioned was gusto. “Today it seems to us in
England,” he said, “the essential, distinctive, and enviable quality of
American fiction. Somewhere and somehow, in the American novel towards
the end of the post-war decade, solemnity was miraculously shed and in
its place appeared a new virility as mysteriously and suddenly as the
works of Fielding, Sterne, and Smollett had appeared in
eighteenth-century England.”

French critics were more impressed by other qualities of American
fiction (or by the same qualities under different names): they mentioned
its intensity and singleness of emotion, its earthy dialogue, its
delight in physical violence, and what they called its “pure
exteriority,” a term they applied to the practice common among American
novelists of presenting character in terms of speech and action, without
auctorial comments, as if they were writing for the stage. Russian and
Czech critics were deeply impressed by the technical discoveries of our
novelists, whom they studied very much as American writers used to study
Flaubert. Critics of all nations felt that they were dealing with a
unified body of work. For that is our second impression after a survey
of American books abroad: besides being immensely varied, they also
possess a family resemblance that has not always been recognized at
home. “American,” said one French critic “is not so much a nationality
as a style.”

During the first half of this century, the position of American
literature in foreign countries has been completely transformed. It was
still regarded, before 1900, as a department of English literature, a
sort of branch factory that tried to duplicate the products of the
parent firm. After 1930 it came to be regarded as one of the great world
literatures in its own right, and perhaps, as regards contemporary work,
the greatest of them all. But this transformed position was not merely a
secondary result of the growth in economic and military power of the
American nation; it was also an independent development that testified
to a change in the literature itself. Europeans were not slow to
recognize that there had been a literary revival here after 1910; and
they showed the same hospitality to the new writers of the interwar
period that they had shown, a century before, to the writers of the New
York and New England renaissance.

Conclusion

Mark Twain is the most famous American writer in our country. His books
are being read in our country for more than one hundred years already,
and interest to his creative activity is still not decreased.

Opposite, we can boldly say that with each new generation, who opens for
themselves Twain’s books, the attention of the reader to Twain becomes
broader and deeper.

The personality of a writer constantly causes sympathy and respect
because of unrestrained gaiety of the early Twain and, anger and
bitterness of the late Twain.

During his known trip to USA in 1906 A.M. Gorky had got acquaintance
with Twain. The former characterized the outstanding humorist as
following:

“Beside on his large skull there were splendid hair, – somewhat like
wild stripes of white, cool fire.” – enchanted by the old writer, Gorky
wrote.” From beneath heavy, always half-lowered ages, there is vividly
seen a clever and sharp, brilliance, sculpture eye, but, when they are
taken a look straight in your face, you feel that all wrinkles on him
are measured and will remain for ever in memories of this person.

With the help of the Twain’s books, tales, journeys, we get acquainted
with the American folk, American history, their customs, and the beauty
of the American nature. The Great Russian poet Nicolay Aseev wrote: “I
am very fond of Mark Twain. He, with the only one wave of his hand,
instantly carries me to the bank of the majestic Mississippi river. And
I see in the silver depths the life of the people of the Mississippi.”

We also feel the same delight of Mark Twain when he, as a real patriot
of his country, criticizes his own country. The Russian writer Yury
Olesha expressed the thoughts of all our folk, when he wrote, “Mark
Twain threw all his genius to the service for humanity, to the
fortification of humans’ belief in them, to the help of soul development
aside to fairness, good and beauties!” And these words seem to us as the
best to show the significance of Mark Twain for humanity.

Bibliography

1. Albert В.Paine. Mark Twain. A Biography. Vols.1-2, 1982 Harvard
University press pp.483, 511

2. A.Paine Mark Twain and his works Washington 2002 pp.160-161

3. А.Старцев Жизнь и творчество Марка Твена М. ИХЛ 1976 стр 23, 45-46,
79, 112-113, 255

4. History of the American Literature M. High School 1987 pp.223-224

5. Internet: http:// www.marktwainhouse.org/mark_twain.htm

6. Internet: http://www. etext.virginia.edu/railton/ Charles Wyett
In-depth look at the writer. txt

7. Internet: http://www. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain.doc

8. Internet: http:// bancroft.berkeley.edu/MTP/Mark Twain’s Papers.html

9. Internet: http:// www.pbs.org/marktwain/ Life and writings of the
great American writer, Mark Twain. htm pp.1-3

10.Internet:http://www.educateyourself.ru/philology/English/literature/t
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12.. Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn M. Prosveshcheniye
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13.·Mark Twain The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer L. High School 1974 pp.
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14. Mark Twain. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court M. Drofa
2003 p.134, 163, 222, 267

15. Mark Twain quotations Prentice Hall Publishers 2001 pp.34, 46, 172,
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16. Philip Phoner Twain Prinston, 1998 p.145

17. Readings on modern American Literature M. High School 1977 pp.
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18. The Correspondence of Samuel L.Clemens and William D.Howells.
1872-1910. Vols. 1-2. Harvard Universily Press, 1960 pp. 284, 287, 312

19. World Book Encyclopedia New York 1993 Vol. 21 pp.597-600

20. Юрий Олеша Заметки о Твене М. Детская литература 1975 стр. 11

21. Юрий Олеша. Ни дня без строчки. М., 1965, стр. 216-220.

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