Major Authors, 1789-1890: Mark Twain

English 4168/7168
Mark Twain
Section 1
Phong Nguyen

In this course we will examine the biography, legacy, critical reception, historical context, short stories, essays, and novels of Mark Twain— “the first truly American writer,” according to William Faulkner, and one whom Eugene O’Neill called “the true father of American literature.” Yet Twain himself said “high and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water,” adding puckishly, “but everybody drinks water.” The full-length novels we will read include the Norton Critical Editions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and Pudd’nhead Wilson. There will be a mid-term essay and a final essay, as well as one class presentation.