How Nancy Jackson Married Kate Wilson and Other Tales of Rebellious Girls & Daring Young Women

How Nancy Jackson Married Kate Wilson and Other Tales of Rebellious Girls & Daring Young Women

How Nancy Jackson Married Kate Wilson and Other Tales of Rebellious Girls & Daring Young Women

How Nancy Jackson Married Kate Wilson and Other Tales of Rebellious Girls & Daring Young Women

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

This edition brings together for the first time Mark Twain's stories that feature girls and independent, unmarried young women. Although Twain wrote adolescent female fiction principally between 1895 and 1905, his earliest piece of that genre was published in 1864 and his last was written in 1908. Not only do these stories reflect Twain's changing representation of young women over forty years (essentially his entire writing career), they reflect changing ideas in his culture about gender and the rapidly evolving roles of women in American society at the time.

During the last decade Mark Twain scholarship has focused extensively on his representation of race and gender. Recent feminist and gender-related contributions to Twain scholarship include: Susan Gillman's Dark Twins: Imposture and Identity in Mark Twain's America, Peter Stoneley's Mark Twain and the Feminine Aesthetic, Laura Skandera-Trombley's Mark Twain in the Company of Women, and J. D. Stahl's Mark Twain, Culture, and Gender, as well as important essays by Shelly Fisher Fishkin and Vic Doyno, among others. the presence of teenaged girls in Twain's life and writing has been an important subject of inquiry in these studies.

Like many Victorian men, Clemens struggled to accept changing concepts of sexual identity and gender roles, yet simultaneously held reservations about the strides women were making toward greater independence at the end of the nineteenth century. the stories assembled in this edition should be both entertaining and insightful to those interested in late-Victorian gender conflicts and the evolving roles of girls and women in American society.

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