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Clemens of "The Call": Mark Twain in San Francisco [Hardcover]


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 375 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (1 July 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520013859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520013858
  • Product Dimensions: 25.6 x 17.8 x 3.2 cm

More About the Author

Mark Twain is the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 - 1910). He was born and brought up in the American state of Missouri and, because of his father's death, he left school to earn his living when he was only twelve. He was a great adventurer and travelled round America as a printer; prospected for gold and set off for South America to earn his fortune. He returned to become a steam-boat pilot on the Mississippi River, close to where he had grown up. The Civil War put an end to steam-boating and Clemens briefly joined the Confederate army - although the rest of his family were Unionists! He had already tried his hand at newspaper reporting and now became a successful journalist. He started to use the alias Mark Twain during the Civil War and it was under this pen name that he became a famous travel writer. He took the name from his steam-boat days - it was the river pilots' cry to let their men know that the water was two fathoms deep.

Mark Twain was always nostalgic about his childhood and in 1876 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published, based on his own experiences. The book was soon recognised as a work of genius and eight years later the sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was published. The great writer Ernest Hemingway claimed that 'All modern literature stems from this one book.'

Mark Twain was soon famous all over the world. He made a fortune from writing and lost it on a typesetter he invented. He then made another fortune and lost it on a bad investment. He was an impulsive, hot-tempered man but was also quite sentimental and superstitious. He was born when Halley's Comet was passing the Earth and always believed he would die when it returned - this is exactly what happened.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Lost" Writings of Mark Twain! 9 Feb 2005
By tjcrewsbooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Clemens of the Call: Mark Twain in San Francisco represents a prolific four months of Twain's early writing career.

"Samuel Clemens reported the city news for the San Francisco Daily Morning Call during approximately four months in 1864. This book examines the relationship between the reporter and his paper,...The pieces reprinted here frequently are interesting for their style and for what they tell us of the author's attitudes and experience. Also they are a record of events in San Francisco during the summer and early fall prior to President Lincoln's reelection. They made good reading then, and by and large they still do today. When a writer as creative as Clemens takes a city like San Francisco for his daily beat, is it surprising that the sparkle remains even a century (and nearly a half!) later?" (From the Preface to this book.)

Clemens of the Call contains nearly 200 pieces appropriately attributed to Twain. As a reporter of local items for the Call, Twain covers The Streets of San Francisco, San Francisco's Chinese, The Theatres, Etc., Crime and The Police Court, and serves as Critic and Political Reporter.
Twain, as reporter, covers the most San Franciscan of all occurances--Earthquakes, and even the absence of earthquakes...

"The earthquakes are getting so irregular. When a community get used to a thing, they suffer when they have to go without it...we know of nothing that will answer as a substitute for one of those convulsions--to an unmarried man."

In many of Twain's pieces we see Twain's satire and use of accepted stereotypes, "employed at that time as much for comic purposes as for the expression of social criticism or of a sense of compassion for the wronged." (quote from the author's text)
Twain's writing is never dull, and never without insight.
This collection is rich!
5.0 out of 5 stars Very diverting indeed 30 Dec 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The writings of Twain, of course, are great. But the editor's notes give context and depth to the articles which are very helpful for the modern reader. All of the information in the book can be found on various web sites, but the collection is delightful in its original paper format. Clemens proves himself to be quite a knave, and the book paints an interesting portrait of this phase of his life.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for all Twain Lovers 22 Jun 2012
By J. Pruitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book contains the newspaper writings of Mark Twain. If you love Twain's novels, you will be delighted with his newspaper writings. He just couldn't write a straight news story for nothing. Every story is peppered with his uncanny wit and satirical humor. Great fun for Twain buffs!
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!! 26 Dec 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For the Twain lover who has gone through the canon of established works, this is a gold-mine (A real one, not just "a hole in the ground with a liar standing over it.") The compiler sorted through the records of the San Francisco Call newspaper for which Samuel Clemens worked for a short time in his career. Using internal stylistic cues, he has culled the unattributed articles of the ones specific to Mark Twain. He undoubtedly hit the nail on the head in every selection he has made. For little vignettes of hilarity posing as news, this cannot be beat!! Mark Twain oozes from every article in this volume to the great satisfaction of his readers who are left hungry for a little bit more. Enjoy!
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