Academic journal article Mark Twain Journal

Mark Twain and Youth: Studies in His Life and Writings

Academic journal article Mark Twain Journal

Mark Twain and Youth: Studies in His Life and Writings

Article excerpt

KEVIN MAC DONNELL and R. KENT RASMUSSEN, eds. Mark Twain and Youth: Studies in His Life and Writings. Illus. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. 313 pp. Index. Paper.

This collection of twenty-six essays addresses the varied uses that Twain made of youth, both his own and that of his fictional characters. (In later life he would begin to fret about its antithesis, aging.) Contributors include many names familiar to those who study this author's writings-Lawrence Berkove, Peter Messent, Victor Fischer, K. Patrick Ober, Barbara Schmidt, David E. E. Sloane, Shelley Fisher Fishkin-but there are a refreshing number of essays by newer members of the guild. The common theme elevates Mark Twain and Youth above the usual miscellaneous level of scholarly collections and enables researchers to anticipate what they are likely to find here.

On the other hand, a number of the articles offer unexpected perspectives. One entire section of the book explores the biographies and influence of each member of Clemens's family circle, consisting of insightful pieces about Sam Clemens's siblings (Henry Sweets), Olivia and Sam as parents (John Bird), Langdon Clemens (Joseph Csicsila), Susy Clemens (James Golden), Clara Clemens (Cindy Lovell), and Jean Clemens (Karen Lystra). In the section devoted to Twain's writings, Hugh H. …

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