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Showing posts by: Allegra Frazier click to see Allegra Frazier's profile
Tue
Mar 6 2012 2:00pm

Genre in the Mainstream: When Twain Mocked James Fenimore Cooper in an Unfinished Novel

Genre in the Mainstream: When Twain Mocked James Fenimore Cooper in an Unfinished NovelHuck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among The Indians is Twain’s first attempt to directly parody one of the nineteenth century’s most popular American genres – the Indian adventure story. The unfinished novel begins where every other sequel to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn begins – after the boys and Jim return to Missouri and Tom becomes restless. 

Rather than amusing romps through popular contemporary genres, this unfinished Twain novel is an illustration of Tom’s bad habit of confusing genre fiction for reality and Huck’s generously indulging him to the point of no return. It’s also a kind of assualt on James Fenimore Cooper.

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Tue
Dec 20 2011 12:00pm

Twain’s Afoot! On Tom Sawyer, Detective

Tom Sawyer Detective, Mark Twain’s 1896 contribution to the incredibly popular detective genre, was published just two years after his spoof of the adventure story, Tom Sawyer Abroad. Just as he was able to use Tom and Huck to play with conversations full of false logic and elements of travel writing in that book, Twain continues to reveal that his two star characters are incredibly versatile and can fit into the conventions of a number of different genres.They can mimic the pirates, robbers, and adventurers that Tom reads about in books. In this novel Twain homages the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who had been popularizing both the revelatory mystery format and the almost supernaturally observant detective for half a decade prior to the publication of Tom Sawyer Detective.

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Tue
Nov 1 2011 3:00pm

Tom, Huck, and the Steampunk Dream Machine: Twain’s Tom Sawyer Abroad

Mark Twain, like most writers of any quality, had preoccupations. Mistaken identity, travel, Satan, ignorance, superstition, and childhood are all pretty obvious ones, but the most fun one is Twain’s almost obsessive preoccupation with what other writers were doing and why they should (or shouldn’t) have been doing it. Occasionally he wrote essays and articles to this effect (if you haven’t read “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses,” please do so this instant), but he also spoofed writers all the time.

Though many of us might recall the more serious aspects of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from sophomore English, Tom and Huck were some of Twain’s favorite spoof tools, and the four little known late novels about the duo (two complete and two incomplete) are what I want to make sure you know about: Tom Sawyer Abroad, Tom Sawyer Detective, “Huck Finn And Tom Sawyer Among the Indians,” and “Tom Sawyer’s Conspiracy.” First up: our duo board a balloon in Tom Saywer Abroad.

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