Mark Twain as a Literary Artist

Front Cover
University of Oklahoma Press, Sep 10, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 440 pages
Mark Twain has been the subject of violent disagreement among critics. Most of them have believed that he was an “unconscious artist,” working by impulse. Mark Twain as a Literary Artist shows that Mark Twain was much more the conscious craftsman than is generally believed.

Here is revealed Twain’s violent mental conflict, a logical dilemma, which forced much of his work into distorted patterns of thought and structure. Through years of practice he evolved methods to achieve detachment through techniques such as speaking through the lips of Huckleberry Finn or some other childlike person; placing satiric scenes far off in time or space; diminishing the human race to microscopic proportions so that its wrongs could be treated with detachment; and reducing life to a dream in which the greatest wrongs become tolerable because they seem unreal.

Mark Twain as a Literary Artist is a mature, thorough, and revealing reassessment of the mind and methods of one of the most controversial figures in American literature.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Acknowledgments Foreword and Acknowledgments Illustrations
The Mark Twain Problem
The Man Mark Twain
The Critical uestions
The World Within
The Four Bases of Mark Twains Mind
The Humorous Sketches
A Born Humorist and a Born Reformer
The Traveling Determinist and Pessimist
Ugliness as Reality Beauty as Dream
The Twofold Aspect of Life
Life as Broad Spectacle
Mark Twains Style
The Reminiscences
Looking Backward
The Fiction

The Humorist as Reformer
The Humorist as Moralist
The Humorist as Technician
The Humorist as Character Painter
The Travel Books
The Moralist Abroad
Revolt from the Village
Moralism versus Determinism
Acceptance versus Rejection
The Microscope and the Dream

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Gladys Carmen Bellamy, a recognized Mark Twain scholar, was chairman of the language arts division at Southwestern State College, Weatherford, Oklahoma, and former secretary of the American Literature Division of the South Central Modern Languages Association.

Bibliographic information