Journals Higher Education

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Hardcover

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15 November 2007

272 Pages

6 x 9 inches

ISBN: 9780823227877


Bookseller Code (06)

The Author-Cat

Clemens's Life in Fiction

Forrest G. Robinson

A Fordham University Press Publication

Forrest G. Robinson argues that a strong autobiographical impulse infuses the whole of Clemens's fiction. He shows how Clemens wrote out of an enduring need to come to terms with his remembered experiences-not to memorialize the past, but to transform it.Clemens's special curse was guilt. He was unable to forgive himself for the deaths of those closest to him, especially members of his family--from his siblings's death in childhood to the deaths of his own children. Nor could he reconcile himself to his role in the Civil War, his ignominious part in the duel that prompted his departure from Virginia City in 1864, and--worst of all--his sense of moral complicity in the crimes of slavery. Tracing the theme of bad faith in all of Clemens's major writing, but with special attention to the late work, Robinson sheds new light on a tormented moral life, directing attention to what William Dean Howells describes as the depths of a nature whose tragical seriousness broke in the laughter which the unwise took for the whole of him.

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