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Mark Twain at the Buffalo Express : Articles and Sketches by America's Favorite Humorist Paperback – July, 1999


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Mark Twain at the Buffalo Express : Articles and Sketches by America's Favorite Humorist + Scribblin' for a Livin': Mark Twain's Pivotal Period in Buffalo
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press; 1 edition (July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087580585X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875805856
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,440,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Scholars and researchers may delight in this collection of Twain editorials and sketches from his days at the Buffalo (N.Y.) Express, but the general reader will want to hunt and peck for the ``good parts.'' Twain bought part interest in the Express in 1869 and spent 18 months as its managing editor and editorial writer. This was a ``pivotal period'' for the writer, the editors note, ``that marked his transition from sometime journalist to celebrated author.'' Up to then, he'd been a ``vagabond travel writer and lecturer''; the popularity of Innocents Abroad changed all that. Many of the pieces collected here are burlesques, slapstick turns and tall tales the editors view as ``narrative experiments,'' precursors to his style and approach as a novelist. His ``Around the World'' letters, written jointly with Professor D.R. Ford (who ``does the actual traveling . . . such facts as escape his notice are supplied by'' Twain), would be recycled into the novel Roughing It. Arranged chronologically, many of these sketches and unsigned editorials show his growing frustration with journalism as a profession. Twain often took up a subject in direct response to the sensational reportage of another paper. One such series of editorials began in the fall of 1869 with Harriet Beecher Stowe's revelation of Lady Byron's disclosure to her of Lord Byron's alleged incest with his sister. Other items of interest include Twain's railings against the ill-treatment of former slaves, his humorous profile of Henry Ward Beecher (``The great preacher never sleeps with his clothes on''), and his interview with a Wild Man in Kansas (one of many hoaxes he delights in). Unfortunately, a lot of this work is too much of its time; their point and humor may well be lost on the modern reader. The long, dry, scholarly introduction by the editors (who teach at Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, and St. Louis Univ. respectively) offers little help. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"I am not going to introduce any startling reforms, or in any way attempt to make trouble. I am simply going to do my plain, unpretending duty, when I cannot get out of it.... I shall always confine myself strictly to the truth, except when it is attended with inconvenience."—from Mark Twain's "Salutatory," Buffalo Express, August 21, 1869


More About the Author

Mark Twain (1835-1910) was an American humorist, satirist, social critic, lecturer and novelist. He is mostly remembered for his classic novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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I've heard from some of the best Twain scholars that some of the articles here have been misattributed to Twain, and that this collection really isn't the best reflection of his time in Buffalo. Hopefully we'll get a far more complete version soon. Until then, it's a usable resource, but extremely flawed.
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