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About Michael Shelden Michael Shelden is the author of three previous biographies, including Orwell, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Product Details.

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Mark Twain: Man in White: The Grand Adventure of His Final Years

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Mark Twain: Man in White: The Grand Adventure of His Final Years by Michael Shelden

Of course, it's Huck's inimitable voice that animates the novel. Morris focuses on the years to ; the story he tells is largely a prologue to the paramount drama of Twain's life. Still, there are pleasures in these pages; Morris has done his homework, and he showcases Twain's earliest literary gems. Interestingly, before he fixed on Mark Twain, Clemens tried out more than a half dozen pen names, some very silly Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass. Morris reprints the article in which the Mark Twain byline first appeared. That awakening altered his own life, and changed the course of American literature.

Shelden makes good on his claim that Twain was often "more alive" at the end of his life than at any other time.

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He recounts his last adventures as he takes on copyright law, befriends young girls, and doesn't lose his humor. Shelden has the wisdom to know when to back off and let Twain have the stage to himself. He assembles a supporting cast of characters: robber barons, Broadway actresses and literary celebrities. Perhaps the greatest strength of this book is that it makes Twain feel contemporary, with wonderful quips along the way: "Dying man couldn't make up his mind which place to go - both have their advantages, 'heaven for climate, hell for company.

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  • Her book assembles a mass of facts - Twain owned 17 white suits - and long quotations from Lyon's diaries. Trombley applies a Freudian framework and presents Twain as a misogynist. She portrays the writer as an old man behaving badly, and with a foul mouth, as when he called Lyon "a liar, a forger, a thief, a hypocrite, a drunkard, a sneak, a humbug, a traitor, a filthy-minded and salacious slut pining for seduction. Trombley takes Lyon's side in the battle between the "King," as she called him, and the "Bitch," as he called her, and tries to elevate a minor character into the co-star of the show.

    Adventures of Mark Twain - The Mysterious Stranger

    Loving covers the author's relationship with his mother and his formative years in San Francisco, as well as success and sexual escapades. Each of the 52 chapters is a beautifully crafted mini-essay about a phase of Twain's life. Loving zeroes in on the paradoxes, too: Twain's natural affinity, as a boy in the South, for African Americans, at the same time that, as he explained, "in my school days I had no aversion to slavery.

    Twain's life is connected to his writings, and Loving shows that almost "all of Twain's works were travel books. Loving tells the sad end to the adventures with sensitivity and observes that Twain turned into a dark writer who condemned humankind and became a "stranger to himself. This could be the biography of the season.