Was Twain Black?

Michael T. Gilmore

in The War on Words

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780226294131
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226294155 | DOI:
Was Twain Black?

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This chapter reviews the literary works of Mark Twain, another refugee from the former Confederacy who settled for a time in Hartford, Connecticut. Twain both accepted and loathed this state of affairs as a condition of his renown, and he turned it into a central theme of his fictions. The best of them—Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) and Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)—dwell obsessively on the risk of verbal indiscretion and the fear of being found out. These novels contain some of the most famous black characters in American literature—Jim, Roxy, and Tom Driscoll—and the two books are widely studied for their insight into the problem of race after Reconstruction.

Keywords: Mark Twain; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Pudd'nhead Wilson; black characters; Jim; Roxy; Tom Driscoll; Reconstruction

Chapter.  8834 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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