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The Invention of Mark Twain: Reading the Major Works
ENGL 263
Spring 2008 not offered
Crosslisting: AMST 270

This course will explore the ways in which Samuel Clemens invented and constructed Mark Twain, his authorial persona, as both a literary master and a popular celebrity. We will examine his techniques from various perspectives, beginning with his innovative revision of existing genres, as when he revised older travel narratives to create INNOCENTS ABROAD and ROUGHING IT, used Arthurian romance to fashion an important element of A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT, and used a wholesale parody of American popular culture to fashion HUCK FINN. Second, we will look at the complex character relations Twain establishes between and within his novels (asking, for instance, why and to what effect a minor character in TOM SAWYER becomes the protagonist in HUCK FINN). Third, we will pay particular attention to Twain's style, including his uses of dialect, social types, and unusual first-person narrators. Finally, we will consider the uneasy dialectic between realism and romance that shapes both individual books and the larger pattern of Twain's career. In approaching Mark Twain, we will also discuss his skillful use of humor to bring ideological issues before the American public, such as the lasting effects of slavery and the dangers of American exceptionalism as the United States became a global imperial power.

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on JUL-22-2024
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