The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography

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9780385477154: The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography

One of our most distinguished biographers offers a bold, revisionist view of the inimitable Mark Twain.

Mark Twain invented American literature. His humor, his fearless evocation of how ordinary people live and speak, his ferocious social criticism, all make him the progenitor of a truly national literature. And his extraordinary books—including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Gilded Age, Innocents Abroad, Life on the Mississippi—were drawn from his extraordinary life. Based on original research, including access to previously unpublished correspondence, The Singular Mark Twain presents the first fully integrated portrait of this great American icon.

Few Americans, let alone American writers, lived such a large and eventful life. From his idyllic Hannibal, Missouri, childhood to his days as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi, from his wildcat-mining life in the Nevada territory to his reporting job in wide-open Barbary Coast San Francisco, Twain’s early life was one of restless adventure. He traveled the world, and his dispatches to the United States made him famous, and wealthy.

With maturity and success, Twain grew tremendously as an artist and as a social critic. Fred Kaplan shows definitively that Twain’s ferociously progressive ideas about race informed all his later works and absolve him from absurd charges of racism laid in recent years. Kaplan also details the darker side of Twain’s story—the illnesses and death that plagued his family and darkened his vision, his almost comically terrible business sense that lost him his great fortune, and his paranoid sensitivity to slights and betrayals.

No American writer is more appealing, funnier, or more universally admired than Mark Twain. The Singular Mark Twain brings him to life as never before. Like the bestselling books of H.W. Brands, David McCullough, and Edmund Morris, The Singular Mark Twain is a masterful blend of history and biography, at once erudite, eye-opening, and highly entertaining.

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From the Back Cover:

PRAISE FOR GORE VIDAL: A BIOGRAPHY

“Kaplan must be commended....a splendid job.”
--San Francisco Chronicle

“Intimate, rewarding....[Fred Kaplan] leads us back, with insight, to the works of this audacious American master.”
--Los Angeles Times

“It is in Kaplan that all the pieces of the puzzle are at last assembled....It is Kaplan who lets us see the seeds and the shoots, the leaves and the flowers—and alas, the weeds.”
--The Nation

PRAISE FOR DICKENS: A BIOGRAPHY
“Kaplan has spent ten years preparing and writing this book; his achievement is as rare, as wonderful, as the Dickens he brings to life. We are all the beneficiaries of this exceptional biography.”
--Los Angeles Times

“Anyone who has not read a life of Dickens is going to prefer Fred Kaplan’s long, solid, and illuminating biography furnished with new facts and theories, to any previous one they might encounter. The novelist who emerges from his study—dynamic, mercurial, self-deluding, with a big heart for the masses and a small one for his ego, makes fascinating reading.”
--Newsday

PRAISE FOR THOMAS CARLYLE: A BIOGRAPHY

“Mr. Kaplan illuminates the Victorian era by bringing us into what we feel is the very presence of one of its idols.”
--The New Yorker

“Fred Kaplan has performed a labor of love and a commendatory service. His Thomas Carlyle, which draws on unpublished letters, gives us our most complete picture of Carlyle in the context of his age...An achievement of much merit and a gift to students of the word.”
--Washington Post Book World

About the Author:

FRED KAPLAN is Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City of New York. He is the author of the critically acclaimed biographies of Gore Vidal, Henry James, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Carlyle, which was nominated for a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. He has held Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and was a Fellow of the National Humanities Center. He lives in Boothbay, Maine.

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Kaplan, Fred
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Book Description Doubleday and Company, Inc., New York, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition.. 726 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. New book. BIOGRAPHY. Based on original research, including access to previously unpublished correspondence, The Singular Mark Twain presents the first fully integrated portrait of this great American icon. Brings Mark Twain to life as never before. Includes an Index. (Key Words: Mark Twain, Biography, Samuel Clemens, Fred Kaplan, Humorists, American Authors, Journalists, Charles Dudley Warner, Joseph Hopkins Twichell, Charles L. Webster, Harriet Becher Stowe, Henry Huttleton Rogers, Albert Bigelow Paine, Thomas Nast, Charles Langdon, William Dean Howells, Mary Mason Fairbanks, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, Susan Dean Crane, Theodore Roosevelt, Elisha Bish, Henry Ward Beecher, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, Thomas Bailey Aldrich). book. Bookseller Inventory # 27419X1

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