Mark twain reading the river essay

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and 4. He saw and recalled all matter of humanity from those formative years and poured all of it into these three volumes. Feudal conventions and institutions and the arrogance of power are blown to smithereens. Twain understood that the Fish Out of Water story a 19th century man somehow transported to medieval England was the perfect vehicle for social commentary.

Twain loved England, and the people of that nation held him in the highest esteem, in spite of his trenchant criticisms of their history and customs. Following the Equator , a global travelogue in the Twain style, declares his war on imperialism at home and abroad. On a lecture tour between and , Twain travels the world, both to cut into his debt-ridden finances and to generate material for his next book. In Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa, he finds oppression, superstition, racial animus, and sheer ignorance.

By the end of his incredibly active and productive life, Twain was beaten down by age and loss, concluding that we are but flawed creatures; life is a game of dominoes leading inexorably to the end. Issued by the Mark Twain Project beginning in , it presents the author on his own terms, flaws exposed, short attention span acknowledged, brilliance revealed, the final testament of the most openly human and humane writer we have ever known.

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More from pw. Holiday Gift Guide PW Picks: Books of the Week. Children's Announcements. Stay ahead with Tip Sheet! Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more. Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Thank you for visiting Publishers Weekly. There are 3 possible reasons you were unable to login and get access our premium online pages. Though there is much to amuse in this section, I found myself growing increasingly restless and bored as I continued on, eager for the end.

Though I did not dislike this book as much as I did A Connecticut Yankee , I nevertheless felt that the joke had gone stale and that Twain was merely filling up space. My reactions to Twain tend to shift violently. Again, in the beginning section of this work, when he is writing from the perspective of his younger self, his writing is energetic and witty and wide-eyed. But when he dons the cap of a raconteur, I tend to find his stories mechanical and dull. And when he shifts away from humor, the results can be pretty grim.

His flat-footed tall tale of the man who sought revenge for his murdered family—a mix of the ghoulish and the sentimental—is an excellent example of this. Even with these faults and lapses, this book is an unforgettable portrait of a time and place that are gone for good, written by an indefatigably mordant pen. View all 4 comments. Dec 20, Aaron rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction.

Mark Twain Essays

Twain on the river as a kid. Twain back on the river again as a sneaky pete writer. I wanted to like this book, which is why, I suppose, I hung in for odd pages before setting it aside. The book is entertaining intermittantly and occasionally sharp and funny but it meanders.

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I should probably have my keyboard revoked for using the word 'meander' in a review about a book about a river, but clearly I can't help myself. Seriously, tho, Twain needed an editor with a heavy hand for this one. Aug 30, Hadrian rated it it was amazing Shelves: humor-and-satire , nonfiction , travel , biography-memoir , usa.

Mark Twain enjoys the distinction of being one of the wittiest and most charming of American authors, and this book is one of his best, perhaps up there with Huck Finn and Roughing It.

It starts off with history, then meanders through biography, anecdotal stories of his youth and travels on the Mississippi, descriptions of steamboats and the countryside, the Civil War, New Orleans, cemeteries, Mardi Gras, and all in between. If I may make a bold and yet now-hackneyed comparison, this Mark Twain enjoys the distinction of being one of the wittiest and most charming of American authors, and this book is one of his best, perhaps up there with Huck Finn and Roughing It.

How the Mississippi River Made Mark Twain… And Vice Versa

If I may make a bold and yet now-hackneyed comparison, this book IS the Mississippi - Wide, deep, circular and long, a centuries-old part of our history. The obscurest details are made illuminating, and this story shines with humor and charm. Recommended to all fans of Twain, or laughing at books. Life on the Mississippi is like a time capsule as Twain revisits many of his earlier haunts and remarks on how the towns have changed. The book is equal parts travelogue, history, nostalgia and yarns. I really love this book even though it was written some years ago.


  • Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain.
  • Mark Twain - Author.
  • About the author;
  • BY MARK TWAIN.

Twain exhibits his characteristic wit throughout the book but he is more often wistful. I feel that Twain exhibits a great intuition for when his audience might be getting bored with the subject at hand and Life on the Mississippi is like a time capsule as Twain revisits many of his earlier haunts and remarks on how the towns have changed. I feel that Twain exhibits a great intuition for when his audience might be getting bored with the subject at hand and he is able to quickly wrap it up and advance the story forward. I am not a fan of Twain novels, such as "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", that may focus heavily on comedy and the absurd.

This type of humor seems very dated in retrospect. But this book "Life on the Mississippi" and also "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" are some of the best books ever written. The sentimentality and humanity still hold up well upon re-reading. What I wish : Oh! How I'm living : Alas! WIW : To float down the Mississippi, smoking a corn cob pipe, piratical, unruly, and barbarous!

HIL : Sitting at a desk, cultivating carpal tunnel as a professional button pusher and microwaving leftovers for lunch. WIW : To take my turn at the helm, dodging rocks and aiming for smaller crafts, yelling out "quarter twain! Memoir, travel, history, humor, fiction served up in deceptively folksy prose which is in fact as sharp as it is funny to evoke the 19th century Mississippi in all its glory and heartbreak.

Admittedly there were a few too many tall tales for my taste or they went on too long, yarns not being my favorite reading, but I concede their necessity in creating the larger truth here. Evocative and endlessly gripping and droll. Jul 29, Daniel Silveyra rated it it was ok Shelves: abandoned. I didn't finish this book - I stopped around page in my edition. As much as I love Mark Twain, and as much as he can write The first few chapters are about Twain's days as an apprentice steamboat pilot, and they are interesting and fun to to read.

After them, however, begin a series of chapters regarding how the towns on the Mississippi have changed, what European travelers of old said of them, what the different prices of shipping through rail or trai I didn't finish this book - I stopped around page in my edition. After them, however, begin a series of chapters regarding how the towns on the Mississippi have changed, what European travelers of old said of them, what the different prices of shipping through rail or train were, and in general a lot of researched facts about an area in the US from the late 19th century.

If this is your cup of tea, then have at it. I was looking for entertainment. What is painful about setting this book aside is that, interspersed with the minutiae about the river itself are great "yarns" that Twain picked up from fellow travelers. Those are riveting and well written, but too few and far in between to really endure. Sep 28, Nandakishore Varma rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , classic.

I have a love-hate relationship with this book. When I read it originally in my schooldays, I couldn't digest half of it. When I read it subsequently as an adult, I loved the steamboat experience but hated the patently untruthful yarns and the rather long-winded expositions.

Excerpt From "Life on the Mississippi" by Mark Twain

I will rate Mark Twain's fiction above his factual prose anytime. May 21, Greta Nettleton rated it it was amazing. Another book I've read over and over--It's free on Kindle in the old edition, which is fun to read because of its authentic touches. America's s are my current decade of choice, having spent years mired in research about the period, and Life on the Mississippi captures the rapid change in this country that took place after the Civil War, as it changed from a land of bucolic wilderness filled with independent workingmen to one of safer, duller regulated organized industrialization and automat Another book I've read over and over--It's free on Kindle in the old edition, which is fun to read because of its authentic touches.

America's s are my current decade of choice, having spent years mired in research about the period, and Life on the Mississippi captures the rapid change in this country that took place after the Civil War, as it changed from a land of bucolic wilderness filled with independent workingmen to one of safer, duller regulated organized industrialization and automation. A visit after 25 years to his childhood hometown of Hannibal is a perfect meditation on the ravages of time that mixes comedy with profound insight.

And who can resist stories about boats? Steamboats, sailboats, rowboats, any boats--i love 'em all.

Oct 08, Ryan Lawson rated it it was ok. I love Mark Twain, I really do. He was a satirist a brilliant one at that. He was a story-teller. He was so good at being a satirical orator that he made a living of it! He travelled the world.

Reading Quiz: 'Two Ways of Seeing a River' by Mark Twain

He was a celebrity if there ever was one. Maybe it was because I read his fiction first, maybe it was because I idolized him, but good god this was a hard book to get through for me. This wasn't his f I love Mark Twain, I really do. This wasn't his first book. In fact, this wasn't his first work of non-fiction. However, this was his first work of non-fiction that I have read.