Summary

Samuel Clemens, the man known to history as Mark Twain, was more than one of America's greatest writers. He was our first true celebrity, one of the most photographed faces of the 19th and 20th centuries. This series of 24 lectures by an acclaimed teacher and scholar explores Twain's dual identities - as one of our classical authors and as an almost mythical presence in our nation's cultural life. The lectures are a gateway to both appreciating Twain's literary achievements and to understanding his life, highlighting seven of his major works - Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, "Old Times on the Mississippi," The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson - each replete with the issues that most interested and concerned Twain over the course of that life.
But you also learn that there are even deeper depths to explore. Although Twain may have died a widely beloved figure, he himself once wrote: "Everyone is a moon and has a dark side that he never shows to anybody."
Professor Railton shows you that in his private life, Samuel Clemens struggled with doubt, disappointment, despair, and an increasing misanthropy that was greater than any contained in his most sarcastic satires. Even his closest friends almost lost patience with his rantings on how to exterminate what he called "the damned human race."
Dr. Railton also explores in some detail the unpublished manuscripts, discovered after his death, that reveal this dark and despairing side of Mark Twain. They include such partly completed works as The Enchanted Sea Wilderness, The Great Dark, and Three Thousand Years Among the Microbes.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2002 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2002 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Soraki on 18-08-18

outfit solala but content remarkable

speaking style is not good but the content is saving the show; very comprehensive but performance could be much better.
The analysis should be extended to other group like the outlaw Indiana Jones, Mr. Potter or the role of the women generally in Mark Twain stories e.g. in Tom Sawyer etc.
Here we heart almost nothing about it and is this truly then a picture of the American society? And also the erotic is not an issue at all?

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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 14-04-18

A consummate tribute

A consummate and loving tribute to the Belle of New York, the Belle of the America, disguised as a lecture. Required listening for all fans of Mark Twain! Thank you, Professor Railton, for bringing Mark Twain even closer.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Scott Poelman on 24-10-17

Masterful

Masterful, comprehensive, interesting, balanced, and smart. Very well done. When I finished listening, I wanted more.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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