Mark Twain's Burlesque Patterns: As Seen in the Novels and Narratives, 1855-1885

Mark Twain's Burlesque Patterns: As Seen in the Novels and Narratives, 1855-1885

Mark Twain's Burlesque Patterns: As Seen in the Novels and Narratives, 1855-1885

Mark Twain's Burlesque Patterns: As Seen in the Novels and Narratives, 1855-1885

Excerpt

With a view similar to MissGladys C. Bellamy in Mark Twain as a Literary Artist, that Twain was "much more the conscious craftsman than is generally believed," I began the present study as a doctoral dissertation at the University of California, Berkeley, and pursued it beyond the dissertation stage in hopes of supplementing the critic's and the literary historian's knowledge of Mark Twain's craftsmanship. Because a study of all elements of literary craftsmanship in sufficient detail to demonstrate a coherent development would involve a volume of gigantic proportions, I have focused upon Twain's structural patterns, turning to style and characterization only insofar as these elements are pertinent to the major purpose. In the course of the study the fact that Mark Twain's apprenticeship in burlesque was the major shaping influence upon the novelist produced a further sharpening of the thesis.

Because the focus of the study is Twain's structural patterns derived from burlesque, I have had to limit both the denotation and the connotation of at least one word central to the study: burlesque. Throughout the text, except in quotations from other critics or in instances where another application is specifically indicated, burlesque refers only to literary burlesque, a humorous imitation and exaggeration of the conventions in plot, characterization, and style peculiar to a literary type, the works of a certain author, or a particular book, play, short story, or poem. In an effort to gain greater precision in description, I have used the parody-burlesque or simply parody to designate that type of bur-

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