Mark Twain Forum
Books and Media "Briefly Noted"


Amazon.com Many of the books noted here are available at discounted prices (in association with Amazon.com), and purchases made through this site generate commissions that benefit the Mark Twain Project at the University of California, Berkeley. Titles not listed on this page or in the Mark Twain Forum Reviews section may usually be found by using the search feature in the TwainWeb bookstore.


Books to be considered for review may be sent to:

Barbara Schmidt
Review editor, Mark Twain Forum
PO Box 136
Kingsland, TX 78639


BOOKS
(arranged alphabetically by author)

  • Baron, Lynne Pauls and Peter Hastings Falk, ed. Luis Mora: America's First Hispanic Master. Hardcover. 344 pages. Falk Art Reference, 2008. ISBN: 978-093208762. $64.95. Baron briefly discusses Mark Twain's connection with artist F. Luis Mora who contributed illustrations to several of Twain's short stories as well as Mark Twain's autobiography when it was serialized in the Sunday Magazine edition of newspapers nationwide between 1907 and 1908. (NONFICTION)

  • Berne, Suzanne. The Ghost at the Table. Hardcover. 292 pages. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006. ISBN: 1565123344. $23.95. Berne's story about a dysfunctional family over a Thanksgiving weekend features a main character who is a writer working on a book about Mark Twain's daughters. Berne's novel may best be described as a psychological drama with occasional references to the Clemens family. (FICTION.)

  • Blum, Deborah. Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death. Hardcover. 371 pages. Penguin Press, 2006. ISBN: 1594200904. $29.95. Blum traces the development of both the British and American Society for Psychical Research (SPR) and examines the lives of the noted scientists and researchers who risked their professional careers to investigate paranormal and psychic phenomena. Mark Twain became a member of the SPR in 1884. Blum provides a valuable historical context for the publication of Twain's "Mental Telegraphy" which appeared in Harper's Monthly December 1891. Blum errs, however, in regard to psychologist Joseph Jastrow's critical response to Twain's article. Jastrow, an opponent of psychical research, wrote "The Logic of Mental Telegraphy" debunking Twain's December 1891 article shortly after it appeared in Harper's. However, Jastrow's article was withheld from publication for four years. Blum dates it as an immediate response appearing in Scribner's January 1892 publication. (Jastrow's article actually appeared four years later in Scribner's November 1895 issue - following Twain's second article "Mental Telegraphy Again" which appeared in the September 1895 Harper's Monthly.) (NONFICTION.)

  • Bresler, Kenneth, ed. Mark Twain vs. Lawyers, Lawmakers, and Lawbreakers, Humorous Observations. Paperback. 121 pages. William S. Hein and Co., 2014. ISBN 978-0-8377-3957-1. $37.50. This is a handy and well-chosen edited compilation of Mark Twain's humorous (not serious) writings on the law and those who make them and break them. Compiled by a lawyer with lawyers and law students in mind as potential readers, it begins with eighteen short sketches and extracts from longer works, capturing early works like "Ye Sentimental Law Student" and including appropriate extracts from Roughing It and Pudd'nhead Wilson. This selection of sketches is followed by thirty pages of quotations and shorter extracts. Bresler makes clear in his introduction that this is not an academic work, and only intended as a compilation for enjoyment, but he carefully footnotes and sources every sketch and quotation, and relies for his quotes on solid sources like R. Kent Rasmussen's The Quotable Mark Twain and Barbara Schmidt's twainquotes.com website. His sources for some of his sketches and longer extracts are not as solid (some of Charles Neider's compilations, for example) but in a work intended for enjoyment, this is quibbling. Lawyers, lawmakers, and lawbreakers will laugh at themselves, and Mark Twain scholars who don't fall into one of those categories will find this volume a handy companion and laugh at everybody else. (NONFICTION)

  • Buchanan, Thomas C. Black Life on the Mississippi: Slaves, Free Blacks, and the Western Steamboat World. Hardcover. 264 pp., 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, 34 illus., 5 tables, 2 maps, appends., notes, bibl., index. University of North Carolina Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8078-2909-9. $32.50. According to the author, the book uncovers the Mississippi River experience personified in Twain's Jim from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but neglected in Twain's personal reflections in Life on the Mississippi. The introduction chapter and table of contents to this book are online at the publisher's website at http://uncpress.unc.edu/chapters/buchanan_black.html. (NONFICTION)

  • Buffett, Jimmy. A Salty Piece of Land. Hardcover. 480 pages. Little and Brown, 2004. ISBN 0316908452. $27.95. Buffett continues the adventures of his protagonist Tully Mars and his horse Mr. Twain. Mars and Mr. Twain first appeared in Buffett's Tales from Margaritaville. (FICTION)

  • Champlin, Tim. Fire Bell in the Night: A Western Story. Hardcover. 270 pages. Thorndike Press, 2004. ISBN 1594140340. $26.95. The author describes his book as a slightly fictionalized tale of a train trip across America by Rudyard Kipling in 1889. Kipling was a great admirer of Twain and looked him up in Elmira where they spent an afternoon together. "I've used many of the brash, young Kipling's own words as he voices his distaste for most things American. Nearly all of Twain's dialogue is quoted from what Kipling recorded." Kipling and the point of view character have a harrowing adventure on Jackson's Island early in the story when they are visiting Twain's boyhood home town. (FICTION)

  • Champlin, Tim. Swift Thunder. Paperback. 240 pages. Dorchester Publishing Co., 2000. ISBN 0843947586. Also available in hardcover and large print editions. According to the author, "I've quoted Twain's brief account of meeting a Pony Express rider as he was crossing the plains by stagecoach. My character is a Pony Express rider who comes to the aid of a former slave during the Kansas/Missouri border conflict in 1860." (FICTION)

  • Cohen, Rachel. A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Artists and Writers, 1854-1967. Hardcover. 384 pages. Random House, 2004. ISBN 1-4000-6164-4. $25.95. Also available in softcover. Cohen's book contains thirty-six chapters on famous writers and artists and their notable acquaintances. Three chapters of approximately ten pages each are devoted to Twain and William Dean Howells, Twain and Ulysses Grant, and Twain and Willa Cather. Cohen acknowledges that her writing is "imaginative nonfiction" wherein she provides her own ideas of what each person thought and said. Separation of facts from conjecture are provided in her endnotes for each chapter. Such conjecture is sometimes confusing as in the case where Cohen describes Willa Cather's attire at Twain's seventieth birthday party as "something simple" and then acknowledges in her endnotes "I don't know what she wore" -- this in spite of the fact that Harper's Weekly published photos of Cather in her dress at the party. Cohen has relied heavily on Justin Kaplan's Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain for much of the material for chapters devoted to Twain. Other chapters are devoted to notables such as Henry James, Mathew Brady, Annie Adams Fields, Walt Whitman, Gertrude Stein, Sarah Orne Jewett, Gertrude Stein, Katherine Anne Porter, Alfred Stieglitz, Hart Crane, Charlie Chaplin, Norman Mailer, Langston Hughes and numerous others. (NONFICTION)

  • Courtney, Steve. "We Shall Have Them With Us Always": The Ghosts of the Mark Twain House. By Steve Courtney. Pp. 84. Hartford, CT: Paige Compositor Press (October 2013). Softcover. $14.95. Steve Courtney, publications editor at the Mark Twain House and Museum and author of The Loveliest Home That Ever Was (2011), has turned his attention to the history of ghost hunting in Mark Twain's Hartford home. Courtney's short book features testimonials from the staff regarding unexplained occurrences and possible ghost sightings. Courtney explains the decisions made to allow paranormal researchers to investigate and film inside the house. Television broadcasts of these efforts have featured researchers from the series Ghost Hunters which airs on the Syfy Channel. Is the Mark Twain house haunted? Courtney relates his own experience sleeping overnight in the house in a sleeping bag. The official museum stance on the issue remains neutral. Courtney wraps up the book with a short discussion on Mark Twain's interest in spiritualism. This is an entertaining book, but one that does not shy away from addressing the scholarly controversy over "ghost hunting" in Mark Twain's former home. The book is currently available only from the Mark Twain House Museum store. The phone number is 860-280-3136. The website for the book is: http://shop.marktwainhouse.org

  • Davidson, Loren K. Down the River; or Wildness of Heart. Loren K. Davidson's self-published memoir tells the story of how he and two other young academics from Ohio University, Bob Hogan and John Violette, went in search of Huck Finn's world during the summer of 1957. From raft building in Hannibal to staying on Jackson's Island, the trio finally end up "somewhere in Arkansas." Along the way, the New York Times featured a photo of them on the front page of the June 20, 1957 issue when they paused in St. Louis, Missouri. Davidson and his friends research the river by taking soundings of the river and contacting a number of scholars--Harry Hayden Clark, DeLancy Ferguson, Edward Wagenknecht, Henry Nash Smith, Chester L. Davis, Walter Blair, and August Derleth. Davidson and his traveling companions build a raft from an old dock in Hannibal, Missouri and stock it with maps. As they head south, Davidson documents their trip including all the characters they meet along the way.Davidson reveals that the men argued while on the raft, usually over whose duty it was to row. His documentation of the disintegrating relationship with his fellow academics amounts to side notes in the text. The real gems in Davidson's memoirs are the glimpses he gives of the Mississippi river's culture. As a guide for planning an adventure, _Down the River _ provides plenty of horror stories and warnings. But, as Davidson makes clear, the river will reward each rafter in its own ways; it gives and it takes. Here, the river has given Davidson the opportunity to spin a yarn; but also became the place in which three men became unintelligible to one another. In this respect, Down the River serves as a cautionary tale, a reminder to pick our shipmates well. (NONFICTION)

  • Dawidziak, Mark. Mark Twain's Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness. Compiled and edited by Mark Dawidziak. Prospect Park Books, 2015. Pp. 208. Hardcover. ISBN 978-1-938849-45-9. $16.95. In his introduction, Mark Dawidziak notes that "There's something wrong with the title of this book ... It's obviously too short" (7). With this wink to his readers, Dawidziak sets up a humorous collection of Mark Twain's advice, quotes, and maxims on various topics that provide the basis for twenty short chapters. He warns his readers that "Twain's advice runs contrary to almost every self-help book that has ever hit the bestseller lists" (9). Each chapter is introduced by a short comment from Dawidziak and a fitting illustration, many carefully selected from first editions of Mark Twain's works to advance the humor. Material included in this volume has been harvested from a spectrum of Twain's works stretching from the familiar to the obscure. Dawidziak's first collection of quotations Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing appeared in 1996 and attained the status of a collector item. This current book, with its eye-catching cover featuring an embossed cameo of Mark Twain by Albert Levering from 1905, will likely be another popular volume for both the collector and gift-giver. (NONFICTION)

  • DeVito, Carlo. Mark Twain's Notebooks: Journals, Letters, Observations, Wit, Wisdom, and Doodles. Edited by Carlo DeVito. Black Dog & Leventhal, 2015. Pp. 333. Paperback. ISBN 978-1-57912-997-2. $19.95. This somewhat misleadingly titled book is a seemingly random collection of Mark Twain's quotations, short letters, and doodles, along with extracts from longer works, stitched together with a spare narrative and lavish illustrations. It is an attractive book but suffers from inadequate vetting. Its factual and copyediting errors are too numerous to list in a brief notice so a sampling must suffice. Susy Clemens, for example, is called "Suzy" in one place and Clara Clemens is called "Sara." A famous faked photograph showing Mark Twain sitting in a South African cart, (adapted from the frontispiece of Following the Equator) is presented as authentic. Several Mark Twain works are misdated. Mark Twain and Bret Harte's play "Ah Sin!" is mistitled as "Oh Sin!" The 3-volume edition of the Mark Twain's notebooks from the 1970s is mistakenly described as "the complete and definitive edition of all his surviving notebooks." Kevin Mac Donnell of Austin, Texas, is incorrectly said to be connected to the University of Virginia library. This list could go on. DeVito's text and bibliography rely mainly on public domain sources rather than recent scholarship. Albert Bigelow Paine's 1912 biography of Mark Twain appears to be DeVito's main source of biographical information, and DeVito frequently draws on Paine's Mark Twain's Autobiography (1924) rather than the recent more accurate texts from the Mark Twain Project. DeVito also draws on Paine's notoriously unreliable 1917 edition of Mark Twain letters, although carefully edited texts are available in modern editions and on the Mark Twain Project's online site. The book features eye-catching illustrations, but some of their captions cannot be trusted. For example, a photo that DeVito represents as a picture of Mark Twain's Hartford home shows the wrong house (it may have been copied from the discredited book Mark Twain's America by Harry Katz and the Library of Congress). Sources are given for only part of the illustrations, and some of the unsourced illustrations appear to have been lifted from online sites. The book's small size--approximately 8 1/2 by 6 inches--renders many illustrations too small to make out details. The book is presumably aimed at the casual gift-buying consumers, not readers with a serious interest in Mark Twain. In sum, the book duplicates many existing errors, while contributing a raft of new ones into the printed record and is perhaps better suited for the bathroom than a coffee table. (NONFICTION)

  • Doctorow, E. L. Creationists: Selected Essays 1993-2006. Hardcover. xiii + 178 pages. Random House, 2006. ISBN: 1400064953. $24.95. Doctorow's collection consists of sixteen previously published essays (some of which have been revised and updated) which examine the nature of creative thought. His essay on Twain titled "Sam Clemens's Two Boys" is a revision of two of his previous essays -- his introduction to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer from the Oxford edition of Twains works (1996) and an essay on Huckleberry Finn that appeared in the June 26 and July 3, 1995 issues of The New Yorker. (NONFICTION)

  • Esbaum, Jill. Ste-e-e-e-eamboat a-Comin'! Illustrated by Adam Rex. Hardcover. 40 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005. ISBN: 0374372365. $16.00. This volume is geared to young readers ages 4-8; the stylized/realistic artwork of Adam Rex will appeal to Twain lovers of all ages. The book was inspired by chapter four (the "white town drowsing" episode) from Life on the Mississippi and Iowa poet Jill Esbaum has converted Twain's passage into a delightful verse. When the steamboat S. L. Clemens comes to town the community wakes up and adults and children greet the boat and its passengers. A couple of cats and an engaging dog are included. (JUVENILE READER)

  • Fistell, Ira. Ira Fistell's Mark Twain: Three Encounters. By Ira Fistell. Xlibris Corporation, 2012. Softcover. ISBN 978-1-4691-7870-7. $23.99. A former long-time radio and TV personality well known in Los Angeles for his interest in Mark Twain, Ira Fistell credits Charles Neider's 1985 book, Papa: An Intimate Biography of Mark Twain by Susy Clemens as the creative spark behind his new book, in which he describes himself as a "devoted amateur" in Mark Twain studies (p.viii). That is a pose he sustains throughout his entire book. Fistell does not reveal exactly when he wrote his book, but most of it has the appearance of having been composed before 1995. Its bibliography and footnotes cite nothing published since 1992--except a single 1994 newspaper article-- and no authoritative texts of Mark Twain's major works published at any time. Apart from remarks in a chapter about modern Hannibal, the text is generally oblivious to events and scholarly developments of the past two decades. Mark Twain: Three Encounters comprises three major sections. The first contains Fistell's critical analyses of several major Mark Twain works. Perhaps the book's most interesting section, this part offers some novel theories, such as the idea that Mark Twain wrote A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court as a satire on America under President Chester A. Arthur's administration (1881-85). The second section describes Fistell's personal reactions to the various Mark Twain sites he visited over what appears to have been a very long time. This section pays little attention to recent developments at most of the sites. The third section of Fistell's book is certain to become the most controversial portion. Here Fistell theorizes that Mark Twain may have had an "incestuous" relationship with his daughter Susy that helps explain the persona of guilt that characterized his last years. This argument is diluted by Fistell's vagueness on the precise nature of that father-daughter sexual relationship, which he admits may not have been physical. Moreover, he calls his theory "dime store psychology, resting on the flimsiest of evidence and the most imaginative of surmises" (p. 302). He even goes further: "There is, of course, no evidence at all to support this surmise. In its absence, I have fallen back on creative imagination ..." (p. 309). One error is important to note only because it is prominently used to advance Fistell's unfounded theories. After Susy's death Mark Twain wrote comparing his loss to that of Aaron Burr who had lost his own daughter Theodosia in 1812. Fistell asserts that Twain almost certainly knew that Burr had been accused of incest with Theodosia. However, there is no evidence such an accusation against Burr was made in Mark Twain's lifetime. In 1973 Gore Vidal created the accusation against Burr as a plot device in his novel Burr, a work of fiction based on history. (NONFICTION)

  • Fletcher, James. Mark Twain's 88 Days in the Mother Lode & Stories of the Gold Rush. Written and compiled by James Fletcher. Softcover. 158 pages. Manzanita Writers Press, 2015. ISBN: 978-0-9908019-1-7. $20.00. James Fletcher will be a familiar name to those viewers who have seen the Brown and Simonis video production 88 Days in the Motherlode (2015) where Fletcher appeared as the "Calaveras County Storyteller." Fletcher is a former school administrator and classroom teacher who now resides in Angels Camp, California, where he has served as a docent at the Angels Camp Museum. His book features five chapters including "Sam Clemens Journeys West," "The Mother Lode Influence," "Billy Gillis and His Gold Rush Stories," and "The Jumping Frog Story." Fletcher draws much of his material from the classic works of Mark Twain published by the University of California Press, Albert Bigelow Paine's biography of Mark Twain, Charles Neider's autobiography of Mark Twain, William Gillis's memoirs, works by historian Edna Bryan Buckbee, and publications by George Williams III. Fletcher's book features illustrations from Mark Twain's first editions as well as historical photographs of the area. The publisher's webpage for this book is: http://manzapress.com/ (NONFICTION)

  • Garcia, Manuel. Mark Twain in St. Louis: A Biographical Tour Through Bellefontaine Cemetery. Softcover. 156 pages (unpaginated). 7 7/8 x 10 x 3/8 inches. Privately published, no ISBN. $15.00 + $2.00 postage. An illustrated guidebook for touring Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. The book was written by cemetery employee Manuel Garcia, formerly of the _St. Louis Dispatch_ newspaper. Garcia has studied Mark Twain's works, correspondence, notebooks and biographies for names of people Twain knew and wrote about who were buried in Bellefontaine cemetery. Garcia's book contains brief biographies and supplemental information along with maps of gravesites (and former gravesites) of such notables as George Horatio Derby; steamboat pilots Beck Jolly, Zebulon Leavenworth, Isaiah Sellers, Horace Bixby and George Ealer; family members such as the Moffetts and Lamptons; Samuel Taylor Glover (the inspiration for attorney Pudd'nhead Wilson); and a host of others who were part of Twain's life. The book will be a valuable research aid for anyone planning a walking research tour of Bellefontaine in St. Louis, Missouri. Information on available copies may be obtained from the author: Manuel Garcia, 43C Quarry Court, Golden Eagle, IL 62036. (NONFICTION)

  • Graysmith, Robert. Black Fire: The True Story of the Original Tom Sawyer and of the Mysterious Fires That Baptized Gold Rush-Era San Francisco. Crown, 2012. 288 pages. Illustrations by the author. ISBN 978-0307720566. $26.00. Graysmith, a political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle and crime book author, focuses on the history of fires that ravaged San Francisco during the Gold Rush era and a young fireman named Tom Sawyer. The last quarter of his book is devoted to claims that Tom Sawyer and Mark Twain were intimate acquaintances and that Twain used Sawyer's name in the title of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in homage to his old drinking partner. The claim is not a new one to Twain studies, even though Graysmith's article in the October 2012 Smithsonian generated some excitement and publicity. The Museum of the City of San Francisco's website has featured the Tom Sawyer/Twain story since at least 1998. For entertainment value, Graysmith attempts to recreate meetings between Sawyer and Twain, word-for-word conversations, facial expressions, body movements, and thought processes--none of which are based on any historical record found in Mark Twain's known journals, letters or writings. Graysmith makes much of the episode in Roughing It featuring a character named "Sawyer" whom Mark Twain asked to provide laughter at one of his San Francisco lectures. However, the editors of the University of California edition of Roughing It (1993) identify that character as San Francisco fireman William M. Slason, who died in 1872. Graysmith's book contains a lengthy bibliography--mostly about San Francisco history--but no notes or citations. In a December 21, 2012 interview in the San Francisco Chronicle, Graysmith stated his Twain research consisted of a visit to Twain's Hartford House in Connecticut. He said nothing about visiting the Mark Twain Papers across the Bay from his San Francisco home. He defended his thesis by stating Twain never challenged Tom Sawyer's claims. However, Clemens was aware of it and explicitly refuted it. An interview conducted by future Pulitzer Prize-winner Lute Pease and published in the Portland Oregonian on 11 August 1895 says that Sawyer's assertion was presented to Clemens, who replied that the story "lacked a good deal in the way of facts." He went on to state that "Tom Sawyer" was not the real name of "any person I ever knew, so far as I can remember ..." The entire interview is reprinted in Gary Scharnhorst's Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews (2006), pp. 172-175. Twain researchers interested in Graysmith's primary source material should consult the published interviews of Tom Sawyer that appeared in the San Francisco Call newspaper on July 14, 1895 and October 28, 1898 when Sawyer, a saloonkeeper, entertained reporters with his tales of drinking and carousing with Mark Twain. These interviews are available free online at the California Digital Newspaper Collection website. (FICTION BASED ON HISTORY)

  • Houle, Michelle M. Mark Twain: Banned, Challenged and Censored. From the Authors of Banned Books series. Enslow Publishers, 2008. Pp. 160. Library binding. $34.60. 6 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches. ISBN-13: 978-0-7660-2689-6. This series typically includes biographical details, literary criticism, history, arguments of those opposed to books and arguments of the books' supporters. Author Michelle M. Houle discusses Twain's life and times and analyzes two of his best known books. She also explores the history of book censorship, outlining why it occurs and possible ways to address it. She helps young readers make up their own minds about whether the books should be banned. Grade levels 9-12. (NONFICTION)

  • Hunt, Samantha. The Invention of Everything Else. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Pp. 272. Hardcover. $24.00. 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches. ISBN-13: 978-0618801121. Set in New York in the 1940s, the ghost of Mark Twain makes an appearance in this story about the aging inventor Nikola Tesla. (FICTION)

  • MacLeod, Elizabeth. Mark Twain: An American Star. From the Snapshots: Images of People and Places in History series. Kids Can Press, 2008. Pp. 32. Hardcover. $14.95. 11.1 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches. ISBN 978-1553379089. This book is a short introduction to Mark Twain and is recommended for children with a reading level of ages 9 - 12. It is also available in softcover. (NONFICTION)

  • Maltbie, P. I. Bambino and Mr. Twain. Illustrated by Daniel Miyares. Charlesbridge, 2012. Pp. 33. Hardcover. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-272-9. This book is a charmingly told, sweetly illustrated, fictionalized account of an incident that took place in April 1905, when Mark Twain was living at 21 Fifth Avenue in New York with his daughter Jean. Both were grieving Livy's death the previous June. Clara, depressed and unable to cope with the loss of her mother, was recovering at a sanitarium, but was not allowed to keep her cat Bambino there, so Bambino was staying with Twain and Jean at Fifth Avenue. Bambino vanished around midnight on March 31. A notice offering a $5 reward was sent to at least two newspapers, but Bambino reappeared that evening about four blocks away, and Mark Twain's secretary Isabel Lyon and her mother chased him down the street and brought him home. Twain was overjoyed to have Bambino back and carried him around his library asking him about his exploits and guessing at how many harlots he had enjoyed while away on his adventures. A week later, Zoe Anderson Norris, a reporter from the New York Times, unable to interview Twain himself, published an interview with Bambino instead. About a month later Bambino briefly vanished again during the day, and returned smelling "streety" according to Lyon. A decision was made to find another home for him, and one of the Italian household maids found him a home with one of her friends on May 1. Caio, Bambino! In Maltbie's fictionalized account of the adventures of Bambino, Twain has shut himself off from the world mourning for Livy, and one day watches helplessly as Bambino jumps out a window to chase a squirrel and remains missing for three days, all the while with people showing up at the door offering their own cats in response to the newspaper notice. When Bambino reappears on the morning of the fourth day Twain is overjoyed and learns the lesson that "there's a whole world outside of this house to enjoy" and he decides to engage life again. Although a work of fiction most of the details are fact-based and the illustrations accurately portray Twain, Jean, the Fifth Avenue house, the household furniture, Twain's billiard table, Livy, and later on, Stormfield. The details that are factually incorrect are trivial: Isabel Lyon is never mentioned in this account, Bambino's eyes were yellow rather than blue, and he was barely gone a day. Although several cats lived happily ever after at Stormfield, Bambino was not among them. But this story succeeds on its own merits and delivers a lesson without sermonizing. Maltbie provides a factual--if not complete--account of Bambino's 1905 vanishing act at the end of the book. She lists her sources which include Clara Clemens's My Father, Mark Twain, Katy Leary's A Lifetime with Mark Twain, Ron Power's Mark Twain, A Life, and the book based on Ken Burns's PBS film about Twain Mark Twain: An Illustrated Biography. Most children would beg to hear this story told more than once at bedtime. (FICTION BASED ON HISTORY)

  • Martin, Justin. Rebel Souls, Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians. Da Capo Press, 2014. Pp. 339. Hardcover. $27.99. ISBN 978-0-306-82226-1 (hardback), ISBN 978-0-306-82227-8 (ebook). Justin Martin's well-written account of the New York Bohemians who gravitated around Pfaff's Saloon on Broadway, focuses on Walt Whitman's relationship with the group as his subtitle makes clear, but it fleshes out the lives of many minor members of the group who figure into Mark Twain's biography: Artemus Ward, Henry Clapp, Adah Menken, Fitz-Hugh Ludlow, William Winter, Charles Geoffrey Leland, William Dean Howells, Fitz-James O'Brien, Edwin Booth, George Arnold, and a few others. Martin describes the relationships or encounters that Ward (215-18), Clapp (243-44), Menken (211-15), and Ludlow (186) had with Mark Twain, and his accounts of Mark Twain's encounters with Menken and Ward are especially entertaining, even if the stories may be familiar. Although Mark Twain's connections with the others are not explored, Twainians will find Martin's account full of unfamiliar background information on the writers whose literature filled the pages of Henry Clapp's Saturday Press (where Mark Twain's jumping frog story famously first appeared) and Ward and Leland's Vanity Fair (the probable source of Mark Twain's nom de plume, whose discovery was made public too late for mention in this book). The book is not flawless--this reviewer is still trying to locate the village blacksmith (or even the shade of his chestnut tree) under which Sam Clemens apprenticed at some point in his career (186). Mark Twain's wise-crack about working for a blacksmith appears in chapter 42 of Roughing It, but should not be taken too seriously. The lack of a bibliography is a hindrance even if the endnotes and index are excellent. Martin does not seem to have consulted two important sources on Bohemian literature, Mikhail Bakhtin's Rabelais and His World (2009) and Stallybrass and White's, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (1986), and the publisher's claim that this is the first book ever written about the American Bohemians ignores Albert Parry's well-known Garrets and Pretenders, a History of Bohemianism in America (1933) which Martin cites several times. But the book succeeds despite these drawbacks, and Martin's account is a lively tale, informative and well-told, and makes a good companion volume to Ben Tarnoff's The Bohemians, an equally readable account of Mark Twain and the San Francisco Bohemians (Bret Harte, Ina Coolbrith, and Charles W. Stoddard) who enlivened his San Francisco years. One source heavily replied upon by Martin may be of further interest to Twainians who wish to pursue his connections with the east coast Bohemians, the 'Vault at Pfaff's' digital archive hosted online by Lehigh University, a rewarding treasure trove of biographies and writings by Mark Twain's fellow rebels.

  • McClatchy, J. D. American Writers at Home. Photographs by Erica Lennard. Hardcover. 224 pages. Library of America in Association with The Vendome Press, 2004. 12.1 x 10.1 x 0.9". ISBN 1931082758. $50.00. A coffee table book of pictorial tours through the homes of twenty-one American authors ranging from Louisa May Alcott to Walt Whitman. A brief biography is included for each author. Mark Twain's home in Hartford, CT is featured in a span of eleven pages, fifteen color photos and three archival photos. Twain's mini-biography is not without errors. McClatchy copies the error from the Ken Burns documentary on Mark Twain regarding the "I am the American" quote (it was most likely written by Twain about Frank Fuller--not about himself); McClatchy writes that Clara and Jean Clemens were born in the Hartford house (both were born in Elmira); and McClatchy incorrectly attributes the "Lincoln of our literature" quote about Twain as coming from Joseph Twichell (it was written by W. D. Howells). Other homes and writers featured include: Kate Chopin, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Ralph W. Emerson, William Faulkner, Robert Frost, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest Hemingway, Washington Irving, Robinson Jeffers, Sarah O. Jewett, Henry W. Longfellow, Herman Melville, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flannery O'Connor, Eugene O'Neill, Eudora Welty, and Edith Wharton. A bibliography is included. (NONFICTION)

  • Mintz, Stephen. Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood. Hardcover. 464 pages. Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0674015088. $29.95. Mintz uses a Twain motif for his comprehensive study of American childhood. He writes "Much as the raft is carried by raging currents that Huck can only partly control, so, too, childhood is inevitably shaped and constrained by society, time and circumstances." The book contains 17 chapters (including a chapter on children in slavery titled "Growing Up in Bondage"), black and white photos throughout, end notes and index. Twain is listed on four pages in the index. (NONFICTION)

  • Mort, Terry. Mark Twain on Travel. Hardcover. 304 pages. The Lyons Press, 2005. ISBN: 1592288065. $24.95. This volume is a collection of some of Twain's most popular travel passages from Life on the Mississippi, Roughing It, Following the Equator, The Innocents Abroad, and A Tramp Abroad. Mort has arranged his selections into a geographical trek that begins on the Mississippi River, ventures out to Nevada, onward West to the Sandwich Islands, through the Pacific, India, the Middle East, and Europe. Mort concedes he has occasionally adjusted some of Twain's punctuation for the modern reader. (COLLECTED WRITINGS)

  • Muske-Dukes, Carol. Channeling Mark Twain. Hardcover. 288 pages. Random House, 2007. ISBN 0375509275. $20.99.This novel, set in New York of the 1970s, features a protagonist who teaches poetry to inmates at the Women's House of Detention on Rikers Island. Among her students are murders and drug addicts and a woman named Polly Lyle Clement. Clement claims to be Mark Twain's great granddaughter and has the ability to channel his voice. Muske-Dukes, an award-winning poet, taught at Rikers Island for several years and the book is dedicated to members of that group. (FICTION)

  • Nafisi, Azar. The Republic of Imagination, America in Three Books. 338 pages. Viking, 2014. ISBN 978-0-670-02606-7. $28.95. Nafisi may already be familiar to many scholars as the author of the bestselling book, Reading Lolita in Tehran. In The Republic of Imagination (three chapters, plus an introduction and epilogue of sufficient length to qualify as chapters), she contrasts the place of literature in culture and education in an oppressed society like Iran and a free society like America. Literature is appreciated in oppressed societies in a way that many Americans may not appreciate and taken for granted in ways that those from an oppressed society might not understand. Nafisi demonstrates how imagination and free thought are threatening to a totalitarian regime, but undervalued in free societies as evidenced when literary works are given less and less prominence in the Common Core Standards curriculum, where 70% of the reading material is non-fiction. Her chapter on Huckleberry Finn will be of particular interest to all Twainians, but her entire book will interest educators, especially those who teach Twain. Her writing style is discursive and personal, recounting her friendships and life experiences, and at times she can ramble, but she makes her point. At the end of her chapter on Huck she rightly concludes that his whole story is, like all great fiction, a provocation, and that readers are left with a challenge: Will we light out for the territory of the imagination--the only territory left in the modern world--and see our "sivilized" world through fresh eyes and "welcome the dangers of thoughts unknown?" (149). Her chapters on Sinclair Lewis, Carson McCullers, and James Baldwin (the epilogue) are not as striking as her meditations on Huck, but those other chapters echo the themes set out in her discussion of Mark Twain's masterpiece. Those unable to obtain a copy of this book will find a similar and more concise discussion of Huck in her Foreword to the new Penguin edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with Introduction by R. Kent Rasmussen. (NONFICTION)

  • Nasaw, David. Andrew Carnegie. Hardcover. xiv + 878 pages. Penguin Press, 2006. ISBN: 1594201048. $35. Nasaw's massive biography of Carnegie includes a discussion of the friendship between Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie and reprints portions of a number of letters that were exchanged between the two men. (NONFICTION)

  • Nenortas, Tomas. Victorian Hartford. Softcover. 128 pages. 200 black and white photos. Arcadia Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0738537136. $19.99. From the Postcard History Series, this book features an extensive collection of postcards from 19th century Hartford. Many scenes are of buildings and structures no longer standing and it is likely they were familiar to Samuel Clemens. The book contains ten pictorial sections, including one titled "The Colt Empire and Nook Farm," plus a bibliography and index. (NONFICTION)

  • Oates, Joyce Carol. The Accursed. Ecco (HarperCollins), 2013. Pp. 669. Hardcover. $27.99. ISBN 978-0-06-223170-3. This novel spans the summer of 1905 to the summer of 1906, and takes place mostly at Princeton University and in Bermuda. The book includes in its cast of characters Mark Twain, Upton Sinclair, Jack London, President Teddy Roosevelt, President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland, future President Woodrow Wilson, Wilson's rumored mistress Mrs. Mary Peck, some ghosts and vampires, and maybe Satan himself. Twain is featured at pages 343-66 and 575-87, and mentioned in passing on five other pages. It also includes plenty of sex, a rape, an Antarctic voyage, a murder, parallel worlds, spiritualism, a wife-beater, a lynching, a kidnapping, a "snake-frenzy," strange dreams, satire, paranoia, gossip, side stories, socialism, and a confessional sermon whose deliverance is interrupted--said some--by a ten foot snake that strangled the man at the pulpit. It's downright gothic, and maybe even epic--the publicity material says its structured using the Homeric ring structure of Homer, Ovid, and Milton, which will make it an irresistible read to many. Mark Twain, wearing his white suit and smoking stinky cigars, is part of the action along with Woodrow Wilson and Mrs. Peck in Bermuda. In April of 1906 a reference is made to the recent death of Twain's daughter, but Susy died in 1896, Jean would live three more years, and Clara outlived them all by five decades. Mere fiction, or did Oates have Livy in mind? Oates writes that Twain was in love with Mrs. Peck and had met her several years before the time of this story, another fiction. Rumors of an affair between Mrs. Peck and Wilson circulated, and Wilson's letters leave no doubt that he was infatuated with her. Oates suggests that Twain introduced Mrs. Peck to Wilson to see if Wilson would succumb to her "charms." However, in reality, Wilson spotted Peck when she walked across the dining room while he was eating alone in a hotel and later met her at a party. The time sequence of Oates's story is at serious odds with historical truth. Mark Twain was not on the island during the period in which this novel takes place. In the context of this sprawling novel and given the way these facts are presented as rumors and put in the mouths or letters of other characters who may have it all wrong, it would be unfair to take the author to task solely for her infidelity to historical fact. This is a work of fiction, after all. What is somewhat regrettable is that Twain had interesting connections with some of the other historical figures who populate the pages of this novel, but Oates does not make these connections. Twain was familiar with the works of Upton Sinclair, and had read and praised The Jungle, and corresponded with Sinclair and dined with him in Bermuda. The publication of The Jungle and its influence and reception get a lot of attention in these pages, but Twain does not share those pages. At one point (p. 511) Oates's fictional Jack London makes fictional comments on Twain's defense of Jews, putting London's anti-Semitism on ugly display. Oates repeatedly includes comments by Sinclair and London about a coming socialist revolution, but she does not include the historical Mark Twain's lacerating remark about the historical Jack London's hypocrisy; Twain had commented that the wealthy London would have to call out the army to collect his royalty checks if those dreams of a working class revolution ever came true. Twain certainly had strong opinions of Teddy Roosevelt (and Roosevelt of him) and he had met with Roosevelt at the White House, just as he had met Grover Cleveland and his wife. But these connections are unexploited. Twain was on familiar terms with Satan, but when Satan appears incarnate in the story Twain is not around to engage him. Of course, Oates was free to bend history to her fictional purposes, but these unconnected dots were surely not left unconnected for lack of room or a potential unraveling of the warp and weave of the plot. What is most disappointing, is that when Twain does make an appearance, he is invariably mentioned in a negative light. He is by turns rough-hewn, ill-mannered, smelly, condescending, strangely aged, drunk and unsteady on his feet, and even his teeth are stained from smoking. In her previous treatment of Twain in her fiction, a short story entitled "Grandpa Clemens & Angelfish" (collected in Wild Nights, 2008), the story itself is an unpleasant misreading of actual events and Twain is depicted as an unsympathetic negative figure. Oates does not seem to like Mark Twain, or Sam Clemens either. In the novel itself some fictional sources are cited, all part of the fun of fiction. But when Oates reappears on the very last page (p. 669) to acknowledge her actual sources for this novel she declares that "the truths of fiction reside in metaphor; but metaphor is here generated by History" and she then lists her actual sources. Eight books about Woodrow Wilson are listed, one book about the Antarctic and two about New Jersey, one each about Jack London and Upton Sinclair, and a book about lynching, but nary a Twain source among them. Clearly, the metaphoric Twain she creates was not generated by "History." This book provides some thrilling reading and fine satire and could be judged someday as Oates' epic masterpiece, but as Twaints go, it just ain't. (For the definition of 'Twaint' the reader is referred to the Mark Twain Forum review of Bill Macnaughton's Mark Twain's Civil War which appeared on the Mark Twain Forum March 4, 2013).

  • Oates, Joyce Carol. Wild Nights!: Stories About the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James and Hemingway. Ecco, 2008. Pp. 256. Hardcover. $24.95. 9.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches. ISBN-13: 978-0061434792. This book is a collection of stories built around the dying days of famous authors. In a chapter titled "Grandpa Clemens & Angelfish, 1906" Oates focuses on Mark Twain's friendship with adolescent girls. (FICTION)

  • O'Connell, Deirdre. The Ballad of Blind Tom: Slave Pianist, America's Lost Musical Genius. Hardcover. 288 pages. New York and London: Overlook Duckworth, 2009. ISBN: 978-1-59020-143-5. $24.95. O'Connell examines in detail the life of Blind Tom, an autistic savant, as he rose from slavery to his career as a renowned entertainer in the nineteenth century. O'Connell briefly addresses Mark Twain's lifelong fascination with Blind Tom. (NONFICTION)

  • Osmun, Mark Hazard. After the Bones. Softcover. 363 pages. 6 x 9 inches. Twelfth Night Press, 2006. ISBN: 0-9673-0791-0. $16.95. A novel of political intrigue, murder and conspiracy set in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) in 1866 featuring Mark Twain in his role as a traveling reporter for the Sacramento Daily Union newspaper. (FICTION)

  • Prince, April Jones. Who Was Mark Twain? Black and white illustrations by John O'Brien. Library binding. 103 pages. Grosset & Dunlap, 2004. ISBN 0448435373. $13.98.Juvenile biography in the "Who Was...?" series from Grossett & Dunlap. The book features a whimsical color graphic for the cover; interior illustrations are black and white line drawings. Amazon.com offers the first chapter online as well as a "search inside this book" capability. (NONFICTION - JUVENILE BIOGRAPHY)

  • Rawles, Nancy. My Jim: A Novel. Hardcover. 176 pages. Crown Publishers, 2005. ISBN 1400054001. $19.95. The author draws upon Twain's character of Jim from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to create the story of Jim's wife Sadie Watson. The book is written in slave dialect. (FICTION)

  • Rogers, Bob. The Return of No. 44. Paperback. 378 pages. BookSurge Publishing, 2009. ISBN: 1439223483. $15.99. Rogers describes his book as a "homage to Mark Twain's ability to use picaresque characters and situations to make a substantial, and often darker, social point." Mark Twain and his character No. 44 make a brief appearance in the novel. (FICTION)

  • Shannon, Clay. The Resurrection of Samuel Clemens. Softcover. 219 pages. Booksurge, 2001. ISBN 1588985997. $21.25. Largely philosophical treatise set in a utopian future in which Clemens is brought back to resume his life, surrounded by his resurrected relatives. A literate and thoughtful discourse on Clemens by a writer well versed in Clemens's life and works. (FICTION)

  • Tremblay, Paul G. Compositions for the Young and Old. Dominion, 2004. Softcover, 209 pages. $15.00. ISBN: 1-930977-43-4. Tremblay's book is a collection of twenty short stories. One of the stories titled "So Many Things Left Out" is a horror/science fiction story featuring Mark Twain who has been resurrected by voodoo. Tremblay was inspired to write his story by the controversy surrounding the publication of _Jap Herron_ in 1917, a book claimed to have been dictated by Twain via the ouija board, and _Jap Herron_ is a prominent part of the story. Another short story featuring legendary baseball player Ty Cobb is titled "Hackin' at the Peach." This is not a collection of stories for the squeamish. (FICTION - Science fiction/horror)

  • Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Edited by Lucy Rollin. Softcover. 315 pages. Broadview Press, 2006. ISBN: 1551116529. $9.95. This edition of Mark Twain's novel contains a wealth of introductory material, four appendixes and a bibliography. The supplementary material focuses on composition of the original manuscript, marketing, contemporary reviews; Twain's memories of Hannibal; other "Bad Boys and Boy Books" of the nineteenth century; and "Small Town American Childhood in the 1840s." The publisher's table of contents webpage for this book is:
    http://www.broadviewpress.com/bvcontents.asp?BookID=754

  • Twain, Mark. Graphic Classics: Mark Twain. Second edition. Edited by Tom Pomplun. Eureka Productions, 2007. Pp. 144. 7 x 10", paperback, b&w, 4 color cover. $11.95. ISBN 0-9787919-2-4. This book is the revised second edition of the eighth volume in the Graphic Classics series of comic adaptations of literature. This edition, which replaces the 2004 Mark Twain edition, features "Tom Sawyer Abroad." An illustration from that story is featured on the cover of this edition. "Tom Sawyer Abroad" replaces several works which were dropped in this revised second edition to make room for the new material. Thus, comic book collectors will need both editions to insure having the complete run of Mark Twain's stories converted to comics by Graphic Classics. The first edition of this comic book was reviewed on the Mark Twain Forum in 2004. The review of the first edition is online in the Forum archives. (COMICS)

  • Twain, Mark. Pudd'nhead Wilson. Introduction by Louis J. Budd. Signet Classics, 2007. Pp. 176. Paperback, b&w illustrations. $4.95. ISBN 978-0-451-53074-5. Signet Classics first issued this work in 1964. This 2007 edition features a fresh and insightful introduction by Louis J. Budd. Budd includes references to recent works published by Tom Quirk and Stephen Railton in his introduction. A list of "Selected Biography and Criticism" is also provided.

  • Twain, Mark. Stories for Young People: Mark Twain. Edited by Gregg Camfield. Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport. Hardcover. 80 pages. 10.3 x 9.0 x 0.6 inches. Sterling Publishing, 2005. ISBN: 1402711786. $14.95. With colorful and eye-catching illustrations, this collection (recommended for grades 6-9) will be one that many Twain Forum members will want to add to their own bookshelves. The book includes a brief introduction, "An Encounter with an Interviewer," "The Invalid's Story," "Advice to Youth," "The £1,000,000 Banknote," and "A Fable." There is a short section for word definitions at the bottom of many pages to introduce young readers to vocabulary words which may be new to them.

  • Twain, Mark and Lee Nelson. Mark Twain and Huck Finn Among the Indians. Hardcover. 277 pages. Council Press, 2003. ISBN 1555176801. $18.95. Another attempt to finish Twain's unfinished novel. Also available in audio cassette and cd versions in 2004. (FICTION)

  • Warren, Louis S. Buffalo Bill's America: William Cody and the Wild West Show. Hardcover. 654 pages. Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. ISBN: 0375412166. $30.00. Among items of interest to Twain scholars is the reprinting of the text of an 1884 endorsement from Mark Twain that Cody used in his newspaper advertising. The author provides a brief discussion of how aware Twain was of the artful deceptions in Cody's performances. (NONFICTION)

  • Wagman-Geller, Marlene. Once Again to Zelda: The Stories Behind Literature's Most Intriguing Dedications. Hardcover. 336 pages. Perigee Trade, 2008. ISBN: 0399534628. $16.95. Among the fifty chapters in this book is one on Mark Twain's dedications for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, and Eve's Diary. This short chapter on Mark Twain contains a brief overview of his life. It does repeat one previously published error that indicated Mark Twain met Mahatma Gandhi in India. There are other minor inaccuracies regarding the Clemens family. (NONFICTION)

  • Wray, John. Canaan's Tongue. Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. Hardcover, 341 pages. $25.00. ISBN: 1-4000-4086-8. Wray's novel, set in 1863, is rooted in the criminal underworld of the infamous slave trader John Murrell. Twain discussed "Murel's Gang" in chapter 29 of Life on the Mississippi and Wray uses passages from Twain's novel to introduce two chapters in Canaan's Tongue. One chapter titled "Samuel Clemens" is a (fictitious) letter written by Clemens to a girl named "Sweet Leah." Clemens's letter describes meeting "the notorious slave bandit Thaddeus Murel" aboard a steamboat piloted by Horace Bixby. (FICTION)

  • Zwick, Jim. Inuit Entertainers in the United States: From the Chicago World's Fair through the Birth of Hollywood. Softcover. 206 pages. Infinity Publishing, 2006. ISBN: 0741434881. $18.95. Zwick, better known in Mark Twain circles as a researcher on Twain's views regarding anti-imperialism, has turned his recent attention to tracking the lives of Inuit performers who were brought to the United States for exhibition in World's Fair expositions. Zwick makes outstanding use of historical newspaper databases to trace the entertainment careers of Esther Eneutseak and her daughter Columbia who was born at the Chicago World's Columbian exposition in 1893. Zwick does not include Twain in this book but includes the parallel on the website for the book. Twain's "The Esquimau Maiden's Romance," first published in the November 1893 issue of Cosmopolitan was almost certainly inspired by the Eskimo Village exhibit at Chicago and the accompanying newspaper reports related to conflicts between managers and the Inuit over their refusal to wear fur in hot weather. Due to illness, Twain did not leave his Chicago hotel room to visit the Chicago World's Fair but he did visit the Charleston Exposition in 1902 and the Jamestown Exposition in 1907 where Esther and her Inuit family were also featured. The website for the book is: http://www.inuitentertainers.com. (NONFICTION)

    JOURNALS

  • American Literary Realism: Special Issue on Mark Twain. Guest editor, Michael J. Kiskis. Volume 41, No. 3, Spring 2009. E-ISSN: 1940-5103. Print ISSN: 0002-9823. $12.00 (U.S.); $15.00 (Non-U.S.). This issue contains five essays by noted Mark Twain scholars: "The voice of Her Laughter: Mark Twain's Tragic Feminism" by Ann M. Ryan; "The Fluid Identity of 'Petrified Man'" by Kerry Driscoll; "'The Trouble Begins at Eight': Mark Twain, the San Francisco Minstrels, and the Unsettling Legacy of Blackface Minstrelsy" by Sharon D. McCoy; "Transcendental Twain: A New Reading of 'What Is Man?'" by Jennifer Gurley; and "'It Was a Pretty High Title': Kantian Ethics in _A Connecticut Yankee_" by Jeffrey W. Miller. Mark Woodhouse also contributes a book review of Forrest G. Robinson's The Author-Cat.

    This journal is available online through Project Muse from many school libraries at this website:
    http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/american_literary_realism/toc/alr.41.3.html

    Single issues are available from the University of Illinois Press. Their contact information is available at this website:
    http://www.press.uillinois.edu/journals/alr.html

  • Arizona Quarterly; Special Issue: Mark Twain at the Turn-of-the-Century, 1890-1910, Volume 61, Number 1, Spring 2005. Softcover, 199 pages. Edited by Shelley Fisher Fishkin and Forrest G. Robinson. $10. This special issue of eight conference papers derives from the Stanford and University of California at Santa Cruz conference held in May 2004. The contents of this special issue are:
  • Firsts: The Book Collector's Magazine, September 2008, Volume 18, No. 7. $5.95. This issue contains "Mark Twain Redux" by Kevin Mac Donnell. This article follows by ten years Mac Donnell's earlier articles which appeared in the July/August and September 1998 issues of Firsts. Mac Donnell looks at the changes that have occurred in the world of Twain collecting in the last decade and how prices have changed. He discusses the impact of the internet on the bookselling industry and reviews some of the most important new volumes in Twain scholarship. The publisher's website for this issue is:
    http://www.firsts.com/Sep08.html

  • Journal of Transnational American Studies. April 2010. JTAS 2.1 features a previously published article by Mark Twain that has not been reprinted since its initial publication in 1868 titled "The Treaty with China." Martin Zehr contributes an analysis of the article in his essay "Mark Twain, 'The Treaty with China,' and the Chinese Connection." JTAS is a peer-reviewed online, open-access journal published by the American Cultures and Global Contexts Center at the University of California-Santa Barbara and the Program in American Studies at Stanford University.

  • Mark Twain Studies: Special Feature I: New Perspectives on 'The War-Prayer' -- An International Forum and Special Feature II: Twain and Asia, Volume 2, October 2006. 192 pages. ISSN 1349-4635. Single issues $23 (which includes shipping.) This English language journal is published by the Japan Mark Twain Society every three years. Shelley Fisher Fishkin has written an introduction for an international round-table discussion on Twain's "The War-Prayer" and provides a corrected text from Twain's manuscript and typescript. Twenty-six essays of several pages each are featured. The essays range in approach from historical to literary to personal. American contributors whose names will be familiar to members of the Mark Twain Forum include Ron Powers, Kevin Mac Donnell, Wesley Britton, Dwayne Eutsey, Martin Zehr, Michael Kiskis, Darryl Brock, and Barry Crimmins.

    The second feature of this issue is a section titled "Twain and Asia" and features three essays: "From 'Mark Twain's Pet' to ''Merican Jap': The Strange Career of Wallace Irwin's Hashimura Togo" by Uzawa Yoshiko; "Not Twain, But Twichell: The Hartford Support System of Edward House's Japanese Students" by Takashima Mariko; and "Representations of the Chinese Other in Mark Twain's World" by Darren Chiang-Schultheiss.

    Single issues can be ordered by sending your name and address and an international money order for $23 to:
    Dr. ISHIHARA Tsuyoshi
    Waseda University, School of Education
    1-6-1 Nishi-Waseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
    169-8050 Japan
    Dr. Ishihara can be emailed at <zu8t-ishr@asahi-net.or.jp>. Domestic money orders or personal checks cannot be accepted.

  • Meridian: The Semi-Annual from the University of Virginia, Issue 15, Spring/Summer 2005. Single issue $7 plus shipping. This issue publishes what is believed to be a previously unpublished Twain manuscript for a speech that was never delivered. The article is one in the Lost Classic series and is titled "An After Dinner Speech: Girard College and Religion." Evidence indicates the speech was written for delivery on February 6, 1889 at Yale University but never used. Graduate student Cory Maclauchlin wrote the introduction to the speech and describes Twain's content as addressing controversial issues of race relations, imperialism, and religion in schools.
    Maclauchlin's introduction is available online via the journal's website at: http://www.engl.virginia.edu/meridian/
    An interview with Maclauchlin and a photo of one page from the manuscript which is owned by the University of Virginia is online at: http://www.virginia.edu/insideuva/classic.html
    Single issues can be purchased from the university bookstore at 800-759-4667 or by contacting the staff through the journal's website at: http://www.engl.virginia.edu/meridian/?page=contact

  • Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, Summer 2008, Volume 51, No. 2. $10.00 plus $2.50 shipping. This issue is devoted to Mark Twain in Nevada. Articles include "Mark Twain in Nevada" by Ronald J. James who is the Nevada State Historic Preservation Officer. James takes Ron Powers and Ken Burns to task for presenting inaccurate views of Nevada in their work.

    Robert E. Stewart, author of Aurora, Nevada's Ghost City of the Dawn has contributed two articles: "Sam Clemens and the Wildland Fire at Lake Tahoe" and "Mark Twain's Return from Aurora." In the first of Stewart's articles he maps out a route from Carson City, Nevada to Lake Tahoe that he believes Clemens traveled in the fall of 1861. This trip was the one when Clemens accidentally started a wildfire on the banks of Lake Tahoe as described in Roughing It. Stewart's second article is an argument for overturning the popular misconception, originated by Twain's biographer Albert Bigelow Paine, that Mark Twain walked from Aurora to Virginia City, Nevada to take his job as an Enterprise reporter in the fall of 1862. Stewart presents evidence that Clemens probably made the trip on horseback accompanied by Frank Fuller.

    David C. Antonucci, author of The Natural World of Lake and Tahoe and Mark Twain at Lake Tahoe has contributed "Mark Twain's Route to Lake Tahoe." Antonucci's proposed route to Lake Tahoe differs from the route proposed by Stewart. It is up to the reader to decide which route may be the correct one and both Antonucci and Stewart are commended for their detailed research.

    Cheryll Glotfelty, co-editor of The Ecocriticism Reader, has contributed a noteworthy short biography of Lawrence I. Berkove who is better known to many Mark Twain Forum subscribers as "Larry." Glotfelty's article "The Recovery of Sagebrush School Writers" discusses Berkove's work in "literary recovery" and his contributions to preservation and recovery of previously lost American literature. She presents an omnibus book review of Berkove's most recent works including his monumental two-volume edition Insider Stories of the Comstock Lode and Nevada's Mining Frontier, 1859-1909 (Edwin Mellen Press, 2007).

    The Reno Gazette Journal has a story about this issue online in their Friday, October 17 edition.

    This issue of Nevada Historical Society Quarterly is available from:
    Nevada Historical Society, 1650 N. Virginia St., Reno, NV, 89503 or by telephone with credit card at 775-688-1190 (press 4 for the store.)

    MEDIA

  • The Adventures of Mark Twain. Musical score by Max Steiner. Performed by Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Chorus; conducted by William Stromberg. Liner notes by Bill Whitaker. Naxos, 2004. 70:49. Audio CD. $6.95. ASIN: B0002TXT5W. This is a soundtrack CD from the 1944 movie based on Mark Twain's life which featured Frederic March as Twain and Alexis Smith as Olivia Clemens. The liner notes include a brief background and history of the movie and Clara Clemens's involvement in the production. Amazon features audio clips from the twenty-nine tracks on the CD. (AUDIO CD)

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, $3.99. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, $4.99. Blackstone Audio iPhone Audiobook Apps. By Folium Partners. Two new Mark Twain audiobooks developed specifically for the iPhone platform hit the market recently. Developed and distributed by Folium Partners, the Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn Blackstone Audio iPhone apps each feature full-length audiobooks organized by chapter with easy-to-use controls, intuitive designs, and bonus materials that make their $3.99 and $4.99 price tags, respectively, feel like a real bargain. The centerpiece of each app is its unabridged audiobook recording. (The Huck Finn omits the oft-debated "Raftsmen's Passage," however.) Grover Gardner (who reads Tom Sawyer) and Tom Parker (who reads Huckleberry Finn) provide professional readings that are as pleasurable to listen to as they are unobtrusive. Both apps also offer miscellaneous content that includes short biographies of Twain, histories of each text, an assortment of fun quizzes (about such subjects as American history, Mark Twain, the novels and their principal characters) that score themselves, and a variety of Sam Clemens's most famous quotations. One only hopes that with the technology of iPhone network available to app designers, that Blackstone Audio/Folium Partners continue to update these apps (with new quizzes, for example) and additional supplementary features. For more information please visit: http://www.blackstoneaudioapps.com.

  • Discoveries ... America Special Edition, Mark Twain Himself performed by Richard Garey. DVD. 82 minutes. Bennett-Watt HD Productions, Inc., 2005. ISBN 1-932978-14-3. $19.95. This one-man show is performed by actor and Mark Twain impersonator Richard Garey at the historic Planter's Barn Theater in Hannibal, Missouri. It is a one-camera production performed before a small audience. Garey's selections are a mix of both humorous and serious material combined with autobiographical commentary. In an interview with Garey that is included on the DVD, he provides historical context for the Planter's Barn Theater in Hannibal as well as Mark Twain's role in American literature. (DVD NONFICTION)

  • Discoveries ... America Special Edition, Mark Twain's Hannibal: A Homecoming performed by Richard Garey. DVD. 66 minutes. Heritage Stage Productions and Bennett-Watt HD Productions, Inc., 2005. ISBN 1-932978-31-3. $19.95. Mark Twain impersonator Richard Garey takes his act and monologues to the streets of Hannibal, Missouri. Along the way he visits some of the historic homes and buildings, local tourist attractions and main street businesses. Notably absent is any visit to Mount Olivet cemetery or the Hannibal public library--two other sites worthy of mention. This production contains some of the same material from Garey's _Mark Twain Himself_. Some historical errors and local myths are presented as fact such as a childhood friendship between "The Unsinkable" Molly Brown and Sam Clemens. (DVD NONFICTION)

  • Father Murphy - Season 2. Image Entertainment, 2005. Five DVD disks. Color; closed captioned. ASIN B0006L0LIE. $49.99. Included in this collection is episode 25 which was titled "Stopover in a One-Horse Town." The program aired on October 26, 1982, the second season of this television production which starred former professional football player Merlin Olsen. The plot of episode 25 featured Sam Clemens who arrived in town and established a newspaper. (According to Mark Dawidziak in his book Shape of the River, the role of Clemens was played by Christopher Stone.) Young cast regulars joined Clemens as reporters and became the inspiration for Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Release date for this item is January 25, 2005. (DVD FICTION)

  • The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg. Monterey Home Video, 2004. Directed by Ralph Rosenblum. 40 minutes. ASIN B0002VGSQW. $24.95. This adaptation of Twain's work originally aired March 17, 1980 on television's "American Short Story" series. The production starred Robert Preston and Fred Gwynne. Critics denounced script writer Mark Harris for eliminating the last portion of Twain's story and leaving the audience with an incomplete version of the work. (DVD FICTION)

  • Mark Twain Playing Cards: Favorite Characters and Quotes. ProsperoArt.com, 2014. 52 card deck, plus two jokers, boxed. $9.95. It may seem strange to review a deck of cards, but there's likely an aphorism by Mark Twain that would be apropos in this situation, and even if there isn't one then any old quote will glow with authority if Mark Twain's name is appended to it. This is not the first time Mark Twain has found himself featured in a deck of cards, but it seems to be the first time he has ever had an entire deck of cards devoted to him alone. Many versions of the popular card game, Game of Authors, added Mark Twain to its pantheon of honored authors during his lifetime, but no decks of cards were produced that were entirely about Mark Twain, which seems remarkable for a fellow whose name has graced cigars, whiskeys, wines. peaches, oranges, oysters, coal, a train, some steamboats, fur coats, shirts, pants, shoes, schools, a lake, a golf course, three dozen hotels, three soft drinks, and a stud horse. This deck of cards is delightfully illustrated by Jan Padover, and is part of a series that includes decks devoted to the Bible, Native Americans, Alice in Wonderland, William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. Mark Twain would approve of the other decks, but not Jane Austen*, and despite the attractive design it's not certain whether he would approve of his own deck. Each card contains one Mark Twain quote and one illustration. Twain readers will recognize illustrations of Tom, Huck, Jim, Miss Watson, Boggs, Hank Morgan, and even King Leopold. However, some of the quotes might look suspect. Of the fifty-four cards, thirteen contain quotes for which there is no evidence to attribute them to Mark Twain. Four of those thirteen have been discredited by the notoriously reliable twainquotes.com website. Most of the other spurious quotes seems to have been plucked from notoriously unreliable websites like brainyquotes.com, goodreads.com, wikiquote.org, and thinkexist.com. For the record the foul quotes appear on the 4, 5, and 6 of spades, the 9 of clubs, the 2, 3, 5, 8, and 10 of hearts, and the 2, 3, 8, and 10 of diamonds. The other forty-one cards have genuine quotes, and although none are sourced, some sources are obvious in context. A few of those forty-one authentic quotes are not verbatim and need an editor's tweaking. Of course, it must be obvious that misattributed quotes on playing cards are not nearly as grievously offensive as books filled with errors that poison the well for future Twainians who might innocently lower their buckets, but it's still annoying. Just because a quote has appeared with Mark Twain's name attached to it in a stack of cheeky self-help books, or on some popular online websites, don't make it so. Mark Twain never said "Don't go around saying the world owes you a living" (8 of hearts), or "Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most" (6 of spades), or "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions" (2 of diamonds), but he did say "It is my belief that nearly any invented quotation, played with confidence, stands a good chance to deceive" (Following the Equator) and "The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant encumbrance. How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!" (Mark Twain in Eruption). Twenty-five percent of the cards in this deck contains words by others falsely attributed to Mark Twain. That's a most unpleasant encumbrance, and hard to undo no matter how many times they are reshuffled.

    *I think it was Mark Twain who once said that any deck of cards could be improved by simply removing the Jane Austen cards from that deck, even if they were the only cards in the deck.
    NB: What Mark Twain actually said is "Jane Austen's books, too, are absent from this library. Just that one omission alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it" (Following the Equator).

  • Mark Twain's America in 3-D. (Originally released in IMAX film format in 1998.) Warner Home Video, 2005. Narrated by Anne Bancroft. Directed by Stephen Low. 53 minutes. ASIN B0006HBV4Q. $14.97. The original production was flawed by factual inaccuracies and could have used more scholarly input. Film reviewer Lawrence Van Gelder for the New York Times declared, "Twain might have enjoyed the film's three-dimensional effects while turning his withering scorn on its pretensions to biography, history and social relevance." The film's redeeming qualities were in the use of stereoscopic archival images, the footage of Twain's Hartford house, the scenes filmed around the town of Hannibal and the musical soundtrack. The awesome 3D effects of IMAX are lost in the transfer to DVD format. Release date for this item is February 1, 2005. (DVD NONFICTION)

  • Mark Twain's "Is Shakespeare Dead?" adapted and performed by Keir Cutler. DVD. 44 minutes. Film West Associates, 2004. School pricing with classroom license is $149.95 + $9.95 shipping. Home video price is $40 + $9.95 shipping. Taped at the 2003 Winnipeg Fringe Festival, Keir Cutler's performance is a one-man show performed on a darkened stage. Cutler, dressed in a barrister's robes, presents Twain's compelling claim (that William Shakespeare did not write the works attributed to him) as though it were the closing argument at a trial. He weaves humour and logic into an enjoyable feat of rhetorical sleight of hand. Even the most devout Stratfordians may reconsider the authority of their idol after seeing Cutler's performance. Keir Cutler will perform "Is Shakespeare Dead?" at New Classical Theatre, Festival Theatre Ste-Catherine, Montreal, Canada from September 6-10, 2005.The publisher's website for this DVD is: http://www.filmwest.com/Catalogue/itemdetail/2860/. Cutler's web site is: http://www.keircutler.com (DVD PERFORMANCE)

  • Veggie Tales: Tomato Sawyer and Huckleberry Larry's Big River Rescue. DVD. 45 minutes. Big Idea, 2008. $14.95. ASIN: B0016MJ6L0. Described as a "Lesson in Helping Others." One of a series of young children's cartoons on DVD featuring vegetables as the leading characters. Tom and Huck live along the banks of the Mississippi. When they meet a stranger who needs their help, they must make some hard decisions. The story features a Twain-like narrator "Clark Wain." (DVD FICTION CARTOON)

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