Faculty Book: Fred Kaplan
The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography
(Doubleday, 2003; 736 pp.)
From Fred Kaplan—the author of acclaimed biographies of Gore Vidal, Henry James, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Carlyle—comes a bold new portrait of a true American original: Mark Twain. With his rollicking humor, caustic social criticism, and dedication to portraying the way that ordinary people live and speak, Mark Twain invented American literature as we know it. Based on original research, including access to previously unpublished correspondence, The Singular Mark Twain presents a fully integrated portrait of the American icon, following Twain's extraordinary life—from a youth of restless adventure, to later fame, fortune, and world travels. Kaplan sets the record strait about Twain's progressive ideas on race, and he also details the darker side of Twain's story—from the illnesses and death that plagued his family, to his absurdly terrible business sense that almost lost him his great wealth. Fred Kaplan is distinguished professor of English at Queens College and The Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: OCT 21, 2003