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Descripción de editorial
Mark Twain, who was often photographed with a cigar, once remarked that he came into the world looking for a light. In this new biography, published on the centennial of the writer’s death, Jerome Loving focuses on Mark Twain, humorist and quipster, and sheds new light on the wit, pathos, and tragedy of the author of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In brisk and compelling fashion, Loving follows Twain from Hannibal to Hawaii to the Holy Land, showing how the southerner transformed himself into a westerner and finally a New Englander. This re-examination of Twain’s life is informed by newly discovered archival materials that provide the most complex view of the man and writer to date.
In the latest volume for the centennial of Twain's death, Loving (Walt Whitman: Song of Himself) serves up a balanced literary biography of a crowded life "to renew our acquaintance with this familiar stranger in our literature and culture." Many of the best chapters include sensitive appraisals of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, and the anonymously published Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer put in a different context as possibly the most overrated work of American fiction when considered as adult literature. In fact, this Mark Twain flows with the easy familiarity of a scholar who has spent a lifetime tracking 19th-century American literature. Of certain interest is the discussion, at various points, of Twain's complex views on blacks and slavery, Native Americans, the Chinese, and particularly from the standpoint of his home in fin-de-si cle Vienna on Jews. If this biography of Clemens's many adventures fails to delve "psychologically" into the writer's family and other relationships, it is a solid contribution to literary interpretation of the man who infused American literature with what has been called "tragic laughter." 37 b&w photos.