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The Gilded Age and Later Novels (Library of America) [Hardcover]

Mark Twain , Hamlin Lewis Hill

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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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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mark Twain's Lesser Known Novels by Library of America 20 Nov 2004
By C. Hutton - Published on Amazon.com
This collection of five Mark Twain novels is the sixth volume of his works published by the Library of America (LOA). Once again, the LOA has performed their usual impressive work of scholarship and quality craftsmanship.

The first five volumes comprised his classics and well known short stories, novels and essays. With this volume, the reader is introduced to five of his least famous novels. The Gilded Age was his first novel (1873) and the only one he ever collaborated with another writer on (Hartford neighbor Charles Warner). The other four books were written toward the end of his career (from the 1890's on).

Three of the novels were sequels : "The American Claimant" was itself a successor to "The Gilded Age" as it follows the further misadventures of Colonel Sellers; "Tom Sawyer, Abroad" and Tom Sawyer, Detective" continues the exploits of Tom and Hucklebery Finn. The final book, "The Mysterious Stranger" was never published in Twain's lifetime as it reflects the tragic darkness of his family life with it dark haunting gloom.

This volume is a must for the Mark Twain fan (along with the other five LOA volumes of his writings). While I do not consider this collection to be Mark Twain at his best, even Mark Twain at 3/4 strength is better than most other writers at their peak. The humorous satire of human nature (and of politics in the first two novels) is present in all five books.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be afraid--be very, very afraid 24 Mar 2002
By Kerry Walters - Published on Amazon.com
I have to confess that I seem to be about the only person on the face of the planet who's not a big Mark Twain fan. But after the Enron debacle, and in light of the affluenza sweeping our consumerist society, I recently went back to reread *The Gilded Age*. The more things change, the more they stay the same! Twain's dissection of unscrupulous tycoons wanting to get richer, corrupt senators jumping in bed with the tycoons by cutting them sweet political deals, and get-rich crazy middle class types who kiss up for their cut of the pie could've all been taken from last night's news. A brilliant and occasionally hilarious portrait of what happens to individuals in a souless age mesmerized by the almighty buck. A good warning to us today. I wish it could be required reading for everybody coming of age in these fast-paced times. (It's probably too late to do much good for Enron-type execs.)
One of the bonuses of this Library of America edition is that it includes *The American Claimnant,* a sequel to *Gilded Age*. I'd never heard of it before, and in all honesty didn't enjoy it as much as *Gilded*. But it's a good read for anybody with an afternoon of leisure time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sixth Volume of L of A's Masterpiece Series!! 19 July 2010
By Frank Beckendorf - Published on Amazon.com
Here Twain gives us some lesser known works, but not less quality. This volume from the Library of America is superb American Literature. Human comedy, satire, vision, invention, and new adventures for Tom and Huck across the Atlantic make this a must for Tom and Huck fans...
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely, Timeless, For All Times, Our Times Too 27 July 2010
By matermuse - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Twain in his writings is about being truly human with all it's foolishness and hope. He strikes out into the unknown of life with a gusto. You'll need little baggage or money, just a willing spirit and some common sense to accompany him on his journeys and you'll be wiser if not more content with your little span of living in this wonderful "Guilded" land full of con artists, manupalators, sinners, and a few saints.
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