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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Taylor Roberts <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 26 Nov 1996 17:56:13 EST
text/plain (74 lines)
The Mark Twain Forum needs a reviewer for the following book:

     Jason Gary Horn.  _Mark Twain and William James: Crafting a Free
     Self_.  Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 1996.
     Pp. xiii + 189.  Cloth, 6-1/4" x 9-1/4".  Bibliography, index.
     $34.95.  ISBN 0-8262-1072-4.

The blurb on the jacket reads:

          "Mark Twain and William James is very clearly, engagingly
          written with an air of both freshness and pointedness.  Horn
          is masterful at historicizing Twain's ideas, at re-creating
          the concreteness, plane of abstraction, orderliness, and
          degree of subtlety at which Twain and James grappled with
          ideas during the later nineteenth century.  Before now, nobody
          has linked Twain and James in more than a few generalizing
          sentences."--Louis J. Budd

     The first documented meeting between Mark Twain and William James
     took place while both vacationed with their families in Florence,
     Italy, in 1892.  "I have seen him a couple of times," James wrote
     home to Josiah Royce, "a fine, soft, fibred little fellow with the
     perversest twang and drawl, but very human and good.  One might
     grow very fond of him," he confessed, "and wish he'd come and live
     in Cambridge."  In _Mark Twain and William James_, Jason Gary Horn
     offers the first thorough investigation of the relationship between
     Mark Twain and William James, emphasizing Twain's friendship with
     James beyond their shared intellectual interests.  James, in fact,
     provides the cultural mirror most capable of reflecting Twain's own
     shifting thought and illuminating his often vaguely defined
     philosophical observations.

     Focusing on the experience of freedom embodied in three Twain
     texts, _Adventures of Huckleberry Finn_, _Personal Recollections of
     Joan of Arc_, and _No. 44, the Mysterious Stranger_, this book
     encapsulates both Twain's early and late theoretical speculations
     on the nature of the divided self.  From the thoughts and actions
     of the protagonists in these works, we can trace and follow Twain's
     fictive map of mind, one that eventually leads to a new vision of
     personal freedom.

     Horn moves gracefully and effectively between James and Twain,
     expounding the virtues of the mind and temperament of James against
     which we can best observe Twain's mind and philosophical
     temperament.  Providing a fresh estimate of Mark Twain's later
     years, _Mark Twain and William James_ constitutes a significant
     revision in our way of viewing one of America's important,
     endearing, and yet intellectually undersung writers.

     About the Author: Jason Gary Horn teaches in the Department of
     English at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

As usual, the review must be of publishable quality, and it would be due
within two months of your receipt of the book (i.e., due early-February
1997).  The deadline is particularly important, as we are making every
effort for Forum reviews to appear before print reviews.  If you are
inclined to procrastinate, please don't offer to review the book.

If you're interested in writing this review, please send me both your
home and institutional mailing addresses and phone numbers.  If I don't
already know you, it would be helpful for you to explain in what respect
you're qualified to write this review.  (If we haven't exchanged e-mail
recently, it might be a good idea for you to remind me of this info.)

If you'd like to see some sample MT Forum book reviews, they are
available at TwainWeb (the Forum's web page), at the following URL:

I look forward to hearing from you.

Taylor Roberts <[log in to unmask]>
Coordinator, Mark Twain Forum