Mark Twain: Son of Missouri

Mark Twain: Son of Missouri

Mark Twain: Son of Missouri

Mark Twain: Son of Missouri

Excerpt

No one in his own lifetime was so fully aware of the contradictory undercurrent of opinion that paralleled the great wave of popularity attending his career as was Mark Twain himself, and to no one would the contradictions in the interpretations appearing since his death have been so real and so impossible to solve; for in the end the humorist "eluded himself."

An essay on Mark Twain, appearing in 1908, anticipated at least three of the fuller and more searching criticisms that have come out since his death. In his book, The New American Type, H. D. Sedgwick pointed out a resemblance between Mark Twain and Cervantes, such as might have suggested O. H. Moore's study. His represensation of the western writer as "the voice, the type, the effigy" of a nation might have furnished the theme for Stuart P. Sherman essay in the Cambridge History of American Literature. And his phrase "everybody's neighbor" might have supplied the theme for one of Van Wyck Brooks's chapters. It was the publication of the twenty- five volume edition of Mark Twain's complete works in 1910 that facilitated the fuller appraisal.

In 1913 John Macy published The Spirit of American Literature with an important chapter on Mark Twain, in which, after examination of the whole record, he concluded that Mark Twain's portrait of mankind is "the greatest canvas that any American has painted."

Fred Lewis Pattee, in his A History of American Literature Since 1870, published in 1915, reviewed the . . .

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