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Sentimental Twain: Samuel Clemens in the Maze of Moral Philosophy

Camfield, Gregg

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ISBN 10: 0812232852 / ISBN 13: 9780812232851
Published by University of Pennsylvania Press
Used Condition: Fair Hardcover
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0812232852 About 110 of book's 279 pages have very, very sparse marking, otherwise, book's solid, look's new from outside and crisp dust jacket. Some pages dog-eared. Save. Sentimental Twain: Samuel Clemens in the Maze of Moral Philosophy. Bookseller Inventory # SKU1011929

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Title: Sentimental Twain: Samuel Clemens in the ...

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fair

About this title


In Sentimental Twain, Gregg Camfield examines the major and minor works of Mark Twain to redraw the boundaries between sentimentalism and realism in the second half of the nineteenth century. Beginning by taking the reactions to the question of race in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a test case, Camfield reveals that sentimental ethics persist, though buried, in American culture, and he argues that Americans' ambivalent responses to sentimentalism explain some of the continuing controversy surrounding Mark Twain's work. Specifically, he contends, insofar as the liberal agenda remains substantially sentimental—especially when dealing with issues of race—today's readers of Twain participate in the same dialectic between sentimental compassion and realistic cynicism that Twain himself confronted.

Camfield then traces the cultural development of this ethical dialectic and follows Mark Twain's reactions to it, showing that Twain was a closet sentimentalist whose public attacks on sentimentalism veiled a deep longing for a more compassionate world. Throughout, Sentimental Twain is grounded in a discussion of philosophical contexts of nineteenth-century American sentimental literature, paying particular attention to the Scottish Common Sense philosophers but looking forward to the Pragmatism of William James.

About the Author:

Gregg Camfield is Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts at the University of California, Merced.

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