Synopses & Reviews
"Backgrounds and Sources" includes selections on King Arthur from the ; on the total eclipse from by Washington Irving; and on the "king's touch," the ascetic saints, and the financing of the Mansion House by W. E. H. Lecky. Selections from Clemens's letters, notebooks, autobiography, and other writings and newspaper reports of his 1886 manuscript reading at Governor's Island show how the novel developed. A section of the Beard illustrations includes material by Beard, Clemens, and Henry Nash Smith. The English edition is discussed by Dennis Welland. Early critical views are by Sylvester Baxter, William Dean Howells, Andrew Lang, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Whibley, Albert Bigelow Paine, John B. Hoben, and anonymous reviewers in the London Daily Telegraph and the Boston Literary World. The later critical essays are by Howard G. Baetzhold, James D. Williams, Kenneth S. Lynn, James M. Cox, Louis J. Budd, Henry Nash Smith, David Ketterer, and Everett Carter. A Selected Bibliography is also included.
Hank Morgan, a nineteenth-century American who is accidentally returned to sixth-century England, is a powerful analysis of such issues as monarchy versus democracy and free will versus determinism, but it is also one of Twain's finest comic novels, still fresh and funny after more than 100 years.
This edition of reprints the text of the first American edition, approved by Clemens and published by his own company. Accompanying the text are thirteen of the original illustrations by Daniel Carter Beard, many of which are caricatures of well-known figures of the day. Annotations point out significant textual problems and variants, as well as explaining unfamiliar references within the text.
About the Author
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), best known to the world by his pen-name Mark Twain, was an author and humorist, noted for his novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), which has been called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876, among many others.Allison R. Ensor is professor of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University. His is the author of Mark Twain and the Bible.