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Mark Twain on Travel

“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 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.” — Publisher’s Weekly

Synopsis[SYNOPSIS] “I began to get tired of staying in one place so long.” So said Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known to all as Mark Twain. Ironically, the quintessential American writer spent many years of his life living and traveling around the world. Sometimes because of wanderlust, sometimes because of economic necessity, he was on the go constantly. And along the way he encountered colorful characters, strange institutions and cultures, a variety of adventures and misadventures, all of which he incorporated into his travel writing-writing that reflects Twain’s matchless eye for irony, humor and, now and then, tragedy. Mark Twain on Travel is a timeless collection of some of Twain’s best writing, as he catalogued the antics of what he came to call “the damned human race.”

Mark Twain on Travel


ISBN: 9781599210742

Publisher: Globe Pequot

Hardcover | Paperback

304 pages

Globe Pequot