Mark Twain in the company of women / Laura E. Skandera-Trombley.

Skandera-Trombley, Laura E. [Browse]
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, [1994], ©1994.
xxiii, 219 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


Summary note
  • The field of Mark Twain biography has been dominated by men, and Samuel Clemens himself - riverboat pilot, Western correspondent, silver prospector, world traveler - has been traditionally portrayed as a man's man. The publication of Laura E. Skandera-Trombley's Mark Twain in the Company of Women, however, marks a significant departure from conventional scholarship.
  • Skandera-Trombley, the first woman to write a scholarly biography of Mark Twain, contends that Clemens intentionally surrounded himself with women, and that his capacity to produce extended fictions had almost as much to do with the environment shaped by his female family as with the talent and genius of the writer himself. Women helped Clemens to define his boundaries, both personal and literary. Women shaped his life, edited his books, and provided models for his fictional characters.
  • Clemens read and corresponded with female authors, and often actively promoted their careers.
  • Skandera-Trombley seeks to combine a biographical study of Clemens's life with his beloved wife, Olivia (Livy) Langdon, and their three daughters, Susy, Clara, and Jean, with new readings of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.
  • Several crucial areas are investigated: the nature of Clemens's family participation in his writing process, the degree to which their experiences as women during the mid- and late nineteenth century affected his writing, and the extent to which the loss of his family may have impeded and ultimately ended his ability to write lengthy narratives.
  • Skandera-Trombley points out that in marrying Livy, Clemens not only joined a family of substantial means, but also entered one active in the suffragist, abolitionist, and other reformist movements, which had deep roots in the progressive community of Elmira, New York. Mark Twain in the Company of Women will be of interest to Twain scholars and readers as well as students in American studies, women's studies, nineteenth-century history, and political and cultural studies.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references (p. [199]-210) and index.
  • 1. Polishing Off a Genius
  • 2. The Charmed Circle
  • 3. "Youth" and "Gravity"
  • 4. Elmira, Queen of the Southern Tier: Era of Reform, Part 1
  • 5. Elmira's Cultural Influence: Era of Reform, Part 2
  • 6. "I am woman's rights": Olivia Langdon Clemens's Feminist Intimates
  • 7. The Circle Dissolves
  • 8. The Resurgence of Mark Twain.
C - S
Statement on language in description
Princeton University Library aims to describe library materials in a manner that is respectful to the individuals and communities who create, use, and are represented in the collections we manage. Read more...

Supplementary Information