Searching for Jim is the untold story of Sam Clemens and the world of slavery that produced him. Despite Clemens’s remarks to the contrary in his autobiography, slavery was very much a part of his life. Terrell Dempsey has uncovered a wealth of newspaper accounts and archival material revealing that Clemens’s life, from the ages of twelve to seventeen, was intertwined with the lives of the slaves around him.
Metaphor theory, observes John Bird, is like Mark Twain: both seem simple upon first introduction. Now, in the most complete study to date of Twain’s use of figurative language, a veteran Twain scholar tackles the core of his writing and explores it with theoretical approaches that have rarely been applied to Twain, providing new insights into how he imagined his world—and the singular ways in which he expressed himself.
Mark Twain claimed he could read human character as well as he could read the Mississippi River. Now one of America’s preeminent Twain scholars has interwoven the author’s inner life with his writings to produce a meditation on how Twain’s understanding of human nature evolved and deepened. Quirk charts the ways in which this humorist and occasional philosopher contemplated human nature, revealing how his outlook changed over the years.
In the first book in more than fifty years to examine the initial phase of Samuel Clemens’s writing career, James Caron draws on contemporary scholarship and his own careful readings to offer a fresh and comprehensive perspective on those early years—and to challenge many long-standing views of Mark Twain’s place in the tradition of American humor.
Mark Twain’s works, including his popular novels about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, are rich in medical imagery and medical themes derived from his personal experiences, but his interactions with the medical profession and his comments about health, illness, and physicians have largely been overlooked. In Mark Twain and Medicine, K. Patrick Ober remedies this omission.
Samuel Clemens first encountered the Bermuda Islands in 1867 on a return voyage from the Holy Land and found them much to his liking. This book is the first comprehensive study of Clemens’s love affair with Bermuda, a vivid depiction of a celebrated author on recurring vacations.
In “Hatching Ruin,” Charles H. Gold provides a complete description of Samuel L. Clemens’s business relationships with Charles L. Webster and James W. Paige during the 1880s. Gold analyzes how these relationships affected Clemens as a person and an artist, most notably in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
The thirteen essays in this collection combine to offer a complex and deeply nuanced picture of Samuel Clemens. The collection argues that it is time we approach Clemens not as a shadow behind the literary persona but as a complex and intricate creator of stories, a creator who is deeply embedded in the political events of his time and who used a mix of literary, social, and personal experience to fuel the movements of his pen.