Mark Twain on Travel

Terry Mort, Author, Mark Twain, Author . Lyons $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59228-806-9

Selections from Twain's five travel books (about excursions to the American West, the Pacific Islands, India, the Middle East and Europe) spotlight some of his choicest writing, though they lose his rich, digressive context. With the success of Innocents Abroad in 1869, Twain churned out travelogues for much-needed money, and refined the successful formula of pitting gullible middle-American protagonists against hardened high priests of the world's culture. Mort (The Reasonable Art of Fly Fishing ) presents Twain's writing by themes, rather than chronology, starting with a boy's ambition to pilot the Big River of his youth, the Mississippi; Twain claims in one famous selection from Life on the Mississippi that he took his nom de plume from an ancient mariner who could best the gossiping fledglings by his reminiscences. Heading west into Nevada, Twain's young, unsuspecting narrator is swindled into buying a "Genuine Mexican Plug," among other dusty adventures. A journey to Australia (from Following the Equator ) allows him to ponder racial genocide by the white squatters in Aboriginal land; while observing the caste system of India ("With them, all life seems to be sacred except human life") evokes childhood memories of the scarring injustice of Southern slavery. Prescient, ironic, frequently knee-slapping, Twain's work is eminently relevant. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/12/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.