Cover image for Mark Twain & company : six literary relations
Mark Twain & company : six literary relations
Krauth, Leland.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Athens : University of Georgia Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xv, 307 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS1333 .K73 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS1333 .K73 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In this comparison of Mark Twain with six of his literary contemporaries, Leland Krauth looks anew at the writer's multifaceted creativity. Twain, a highly lettered man immersed in the literary culture of his time, viewed himself as working within a community of writers. He likened himself to a guild member whose work was the crafted product of a common trade-and sometimes made with borrowed materials.

Yet there have been few studies of Twain in relation to his fellow guild members. In Mark Twain & Company , Krauth examines some creative "sparks and smolderings" ignited by Twain's contact with certain writers, all of whom were published, read, and criticized on both sides of the Atlantic: the Americans Bret Harte, William Dean Howells, and Harriet Beecher Stowe and the British writers Matthew Arnold, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Rudyard Kipling.

Each chapter explores the nature of Twain's personal relationship with a writer as well as the literary themes and modes they shared. Krauth looks at the sentimentality of Harte and Twain and its influence on their protest fiction; the humor and social criticism of Twain and Howells; the use of the Gothic by Twain and Stowe to explore racial issues; the role of Victorian Sage assumed by Arnold and Twain to critique civilization; the exploitation of adventure fiction by Twain and Stevenson to reveal conceptions of masculinity; and the use of the picaresque in Kipling and Twain to support or subvert imperialism.

Mark Twain & Company casts new light on some of the most enduring writers in English. At the same time it refreshes the debate over the transatlantic nature of Victorianism with new insights about nineteenth-century morality, conventionality, race, corporeality, imperialism, manhood, and individual identity.

Author Notes

Leland Krauth is an associate professor of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Krauth (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) takes up six major Victorian authors--three American, three English--as touchstones for comparison with Twain: Bret Harte, William Dean Howells, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Matthew Arnold, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling. He develops a speculative congruence in each pairing, elucidating the era's literary spirit in terms of Twain's nearness or distance, philosophically and stylistically. Howells is genteel, glad to let out a little raucousness in private; Harte is the sentimentalist; Stowe the gothicist, using the body as the locus of pain; Arnold the sage; Stevenson the compassionate writer of sensibility; Kipling another writer of sensibility, using the picaresque boy-book to become something of an Arnoldian sage. Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee are the novels most frequently placed under this analytic glass. Interesting chapters on Harte, Howells, Innocents Abroad, and Venetian Life treat humor and sentiment. The Arnold comparison is forced, and elaborating Stevenson's and Kipling's works lengthens those chapters (though emphasis on manhood and decency the latter two shared with Twain is reasonable). Krauth's clearly written book displays Twain as a professional writer and humorist in an international setting and reveals him as a mature, world-class, and unique writer. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. D. E. Sloane University of New Haven

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
List of Abbreviationsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Wringing the Human Heart: Mark Twain and Bret Hartep. 14
Creating Humor: Mark Twain and William Dean Howellsp. 49
Exposing the Body in Protest: Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowep. 87
Holding Up the Looking Glass: Mark Twain and Matthew Arnoldp. 126
Assaying Manliness: Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevensonp. 166
Wandering Devious: Mark Twain and Rudyard Kiplingp. 209
Conclusion: Viewing Mark Twainp. 258
Notesp. 263
Works Cited and Consultedp. 279
Indexp. 301