By Mark Twain, John Cooley
Boyhood is the most familiar province of Mark Twain's fiction, but a reader doesn't have to look far to find feminine territory-and it's not the perfectly neat and respectable place where you'd expect to see Becky Thatcher. This is a fictional world where rather than polishing their domestic arts and waiting for marriage proposals, girls are fighting battles, riding stallions, rescuing boys from rivers, cross-dressing, debating religion, hunting, squaring off against angry bulls, or, in what may be the most flagrant flouting of Victorian convention, marrying other women. This special edition brings together the best of Twain's stories about unconventional girls and women, from Eve as she names the animals in Eden to Joan of Arc to the transvestite farce of a young man named Alice from the Wapping district of London. Whatever they're doing-bopping boys with a baseball bat in "Hellfire Hotchkiss," treating the author to a life story and a dogsled ride in "The Esquimau Maiden's Romance," or sacrificing all for the sake of a horse, as in "A Horse's Tale"-these women and girls are surprising, provocative, and irresistibly entertaining in the great Twain tradition in which they now finally take their rightful place.