The Autobiography of Mark Twain Essay

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In the following essay, Kiskis examines Twain's reliance on "collaborating"—trying his work out on family and friends—in his creative process, especially in the creation of his autobiography.

Our understanding of Mark Twain's creative process continues to be obscured by the complex myth that he, his heirs (literary and legal), and his critics have suggested and reinforced. It is a myth that has been fostered by Twain's own descriptions of his work habits, descriptions that have been too quickly accepted by critics as well as Twain enthusiasts. The myth suggests that Twain avoided work, that he was not interested in the mechanics of composing beyond the accumulation of words and pages, and, perhaps most importantly, that his use of various editors (Mary Fairbanks, Olivia Langdon Clemens, William Dean Howells, Albert Bigelow Paine) was based on a basic and one-way relationship. Twain composed, and then editors excised. Despite...

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This section contains 5,927 words
(approx. 15 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Autobiography of Mark Twain Study Guide
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The Autobiography of Mark Twain from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.