MOSAIC - Studien und Texte zur amerikanischen Kultur und Geschichte, Band 18
Gerd Hurm:
Rewriting the Vernacular Mark Twain. 
he Aesthetics and Politics of Orality in Samuel Clemens’s Fictions

"... Hurm's Rewriting the Vernacular Mark Twain is the most ambitious and important study of the way oral discourses operate in Twain's fiction since the publication of Henry Nash Smith's Mark Twain: The Development of a Writer in 1962. .... Like Lionel Trilling and Henry Nash Smith before him, Hurm has given us, in this demanding book, both a reason to reread Twain's major works and a means to approach them with a renewed sense of discovery." 
(Reviewed by Henry B. Wonham, University of Oregon)

This revisionist study of Samuel Clemens’s literary aesthetics and politics takes its ultimate justification from a maxim by the author himself. It asks readers, as Clemens did in his preface to The Innocents Abroad, to read with their „own eyes“ instead of eyes blurred by postmodern and modern mainstream discourses. The plea for independent critical reading and thinking is closely related to the study’s claim that the continuing debate about the nature of Samuel Clemens’s legacy can only be redirected fruitfully once we readjust the biased discursive frame within which his writings have been discussed. In Twain studies, but also in literary studies at large, many of the new findings about the complexities inherent in oral discourse have not yet been integrated fully into critical theory. It is time that we give orality the alert ears and eyes it deserves. – Gerd Hurm is Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Trier. His publications include Fragmented Urban Images: The American City in Modern Fiction from Stephen Crane to Thomas Pynchon and various edited volumes on American cultural identity and American political rhetoric: The Fourth of July: Political Oratory and Literary Reactions, 1776-1876; Important Speeches by American Presidents after 1945.

ISBN 3-88476-577-9, 296 S., kt., € 28,00 (2003)

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