Mark Twain: Protagonist for the Popular Culture

Mark Twain: Protagonist for the Popular Culture

Mark Twain: Protagonist for the Popular Culture

Mark Twain: Protagonist for the Popular Culture

Synopsis

How did Mark Twain develop his remarkable oral style of writing that was so carefully crafted? And what can we learn about nineteenth-century America from the public speeches of his humorist and teacher who charmed the country and exported his notions of Americanism around the world? This is the very first book-length critical analysis to deal exclusively with Twain's public speaking. It brings him again as it were, to the center stage. The book offers an analysis of his rhetoric, lectures, occasional speeches, and summarizes his impact on the listeners in his time. Sixteen selected speeches exemplify his varied styles as a communicator. A chronology, lengthy bibliographical essay, and a general index are also included.

Excerpt

The idea for a series of books on great American orators grew out of the recognition that there is a paucity of book-length studies on individual orators and their speeches. Apart from a few notable exceptions, the study of American public address has been pursued in scores of articles published in professional journals. As helpful as these studies have been, none has or can provide a complete analysis of a speaker's rhetoric. Book-length studies, such as those in this series, will help fill the void that has existed in the study of American public address and its related disciplines of politics and history, theology and sociology, communication and law. In a book, the critic can explicate a broader range of a speaker's persuasive discourse than reasonably could be treated in an article. The comprehensive research and sustained reflection that books require will undoubtedly yield many original and enduring insights concerning the nation's most important voices.

Public address has been a fertile ground for scholarly investigation. No matter how insightful their intellectual forbears, each generation of scholars must reexamine its universe of discourse, while expanding the compass of its researches and redefining its purpose and methods. To avoid intellectual torpor new scholars cannot be content simply to see through the eyes of those who have come before them. We hope that this series of books will stimulate important new understandings of the nature of persuasive discourse and provide additional opportunities for scholarship in the history and criticism of American public address.

This series examines the role of rhetoric in the United States. American speakers shaped the destiny of the colonies, the young republic, and the mature nation. During each stage of the intellectual, political, and religious development of the United States, great orators, standing at the rostrum, on the stump, and in the pulpit, used words and gestures to influence their . . .

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