Cosmopolitan Twain (Mark Twain and His Circle) by Ann M. Ryan, Joseph B. McCullough

By Ann M. Ryan, Joseph B. McCullough

     Cosmopolitan Twain takes heavily Mark Twain’s existence as a citizen of city landscapes: from the streets of latest York urban to the palaces of Vienna to the suburban utopia of Hartford. conventional readings of Mark Twain orient his existence and paintings by means of surprisingly rural markers comparable to the Mississippi River, the Wild West, and small-town the USA; but, as this assortment exhibits, Twain’s sensibilities have been both shaped within the city facilities of the area. those essays signify Twain either as a fabricated from city frontiers and as a prophet of yankee modernity, situating him squarely in the context of an evolving foreign and cosmopolitan community.             As Twain traveled and lived in those locales, he obtained languages, costumes, poses, and politics that made him one of many first actually cosmopolitan international voters. starting with big apple City—where Twain spent extra of his lifestyles than in Hannibal—we research that his early studies there fed his fascination with racial id and fiscal privilege. whereas in St. Louis and New Orleans, Twain built a strategic detachment that grew to become part of his cosmopolitan character. His touch with bohemian writers in San Francisco excited his objectives to turn into greater than a stand-up comedian, whereas sojourns in Buffalo and Hartford marked Twain’s uneasy lodging to domesticity and cultural prominence. London eventually liberated him from his narrowly built nationwide identification, whereas Vienna allowed him to totally in achieving his transnational voice. the quantity ends through offering Elmira, ny, as a supplement, and whatever of a counterpart, to Twain’s cosmopolitan existence, making a household retreat from the speed and complexity of an more and more city, sleek America.                         in line with every one of those towns, Twain generated writings that marked America’s circulate into the 20 th century and towards the darker realities that made attainable this cosmopolitan country. Cosmopolitan Twain offers Twain’s eventual descent into skepticism and melancholy now not as a departure from his early values yet relatively as a dismal awakening into the hot phrases of yankee identification, historical past, and ethical authority. This assortment unearths a author who's decidedly much less static than the long-lasting portrait that dominates pop culture. It deals a corrective to the well-known snapshot of Twain because the nostalgic voice of America’s rural earlier, proposing Twain as a citizen of modernity and a visionary of a world and cosmopolitan destiny.

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Cosmopolitan Twain (Mark Twain and His Circle)

     Cosmopolitan Twain takes heavily Mark Twain’s lifestyles as a citizen of city landscapes: from the streets of recent York urban to the palaces of Vienna to the suburban utopia of Hartford. conventional readings of Mark Twain orient his existence and paintings through exceptionally rural markers comparable to the Mississippi River, the Wild West, and small-town the USA; but, as this assortment exhibits, Twain’s sensibilities have been both shaped within the city facilities of the realm.

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Fanning, Mark Twain and Orion Clemens. 38 Ann M. Ryan Twain, the white-suited emblem of racial tolerance, can remain more or less untainted by this early expression of racist humor. If, on the other hand, these letters are something more than performative, then Sam Clemens’s racism becomes less an idea than a practice. When critics take up this particular letter, the focus is often on the symbolic vehicle of minstrelsy rather than on the racist politics that may lie beneath the metaphor. Eric Lott, for example, accurately positions Clemens’s attraction to minstrelsy within a larger cultural performance being enacted by working-class white men.

It necessarily suggests an ironic detachment between the actor and the identity he or she assumes. In the case of Mark Twain’s writing, this distance can create a buffer between the icon and the author. If, for example, Twain’s use of the minstrel-show mask is primarily strategic and performative, then Mark 17. Fanning, Mark Twain and Orion Clemens. 38 Ann M. Ryan Twain, the white-suited emblem of racial tolerance, can remain more or less untainted by this early expression of racist humor. If, on the other hand, these letters are something more than performative, then Sam Clemens’s racism becomes less an idea than a practice.

Driscoll reads this music box as a symbol of Twain’s complex position in Hartford: Twain carefully balanced his desire to perfect his domestic surroundings against his ambition to display both taste and sophistication. In this careful analysis of the patterns of spending and shopping that involved both Twain and Livy, Driscoll finds a narrative of cultural anxiety as well as a crisis of identity. The “playlist” that the music box eventually contained became a contested space, where Twain’s cultural ambitions competed with his domestic ideals.

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