My Account

Loading...

Mark Twain in Books and Film

Home 

Mark Twain in Books and Film

mark twain

Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens on this day in 1835, has been described by the New York Times as “the greatest humorist the United States has produced,” and by William Faulkner as “the father of American literature.” He is, of course, remembered for such classic works as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Prince and the Pauper, but he has inspired many great works of literature and cinema as well. Here are some noteworthy Twain-related books and films that you can check out using your Livingston Library card.

(Descriptions provided by the publishers)

mark twain middle years

The Life of Mark Twain: The Middle Years, 1871-1891 by Gary Scharnhorst

The second volume of Gary Scharnhorst’s three-volume biography chronicles the life of Samuel Langhorne Clemens between his move with his family from Buffalo to Elmira (and then Hartford) in spring 1871 and their departure from Hartford for Europe in mid-1891. During this time he wrote and published some of his best-known works, including Roughing It, The Gilded Age, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Tramp Abroad, The Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Significant events include his trips to England (1872-73) and Bermuda (1877); the controversy over his Whittier Birthday Speech in December 1877; his 1878-79 Wanderjahr on the continent; his 1882 tour of the Mississippi valley; his 1884-85 reading tour with George Washington Cable; his relationships with his publishers (Elisha Bliss, James R. Osgood, Andrew Chatto, and Charles L. Webster); the death of his son, Langdon, and the births and childhoods of his daughters Susy, Clara, and Jean; as well as the several lawsuits and personal feuds in which he was involved. During these years, too, Clemens expressed his views on racial and gender equality and turned to political mugwumpery; supported the presidential campaigns of Grover Cleveland; advocated for labor rights, international copyright, and revolution in Russia; founded his own publishing firm; and befriended former president Ulysses S. Grant, supervising the publication of Grant’s Memoirs

The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature by Ben Tarnoff

Mark Twain roars into San Francisco in 1863. Pretty soon he’s drunk on champagne, oysters, and the city’s intoxicating energy. Twenty-seven years old, fleeing the Civil War and seeking adventure, Twain finds a global seaport flush with new money and peopled by fortune seekers from five continents. The war that is ravaging the rest of the country has only made San Francisco richer- the economy booms, and newspapers and magazines thrive, feeding the city’s growing literary scene. The bards of the moment are the Bohemians, a band of young eccentric writers seeking to create a new American voice at the country’s edge. There’s literary golden boy Bret Harte; struggling gay poet Charles Warren Stoddard; and beautiful, haunted Ina Coolbrith, poet and protector of the group. Twain joins their ranks, and the experiences that follow put him on the path to greatness. The Bohemians find inspiration in their surroundings- the dark ironies of frontier humor, the extravagant tales told around the campfires, and the youthful irreverence of the new world being formed in the West. Harte is the group’s star, a rising figure on the national scene and mentor to both Stoddard and Coolbrith. Young and ambitious, Twain and Harte form the Bohemian core, but as Harte’s reputation grows – drawing attention from eastern tastemakers such as the Atlantic Monthly– a young Twain flounders, suffering a crisis of confidence that almost leads him to abandon writing altogether. Ben Tarnoff’s elegant, atmospheric history reveals how these four pioneering western writers reinvented American literature by challenging the musty classicism of the eastern establishment.

Mark Twain – 2001, directed by Ken Burns

This PBS documentary, narrated by Keith David, recounts Mark Twain’s life told primarily through his own words. Includes interviews with Hal Holbrook, Arthur Miller, William Styron and many others.

twains end

Twain’s End by Lynn Cullen

From the bestselling and highly acclaimed author of Mrs. Poe comes a fictionalized imagining of the personal life of America’s most iconic writer: Mark Twain.In March of 1909, Mark Twain cheerfully blessed the wedding of his private secretary, Isabel V. Lyon, and his business manager, Ralph Ashcroft. One month later, he fired both. He proceeded to write a ferocious 429-page rant about the pair, calling Isabel “a liar, a forger, a thief, a hypocrite, a drunkard, a sneak, a humbug, a traitor, a conspirator, a filthy-minded and salacious slut pining for seduction.” Twain and his daughter, Clara Clemens, then slandered Isabel in the newspapers, erasing her nearly seven years of devoted service to their family. How did Lyon go from being the beloved secretary who ran Twain’s life to a woman he was determined to destroy? In Twain’s End, Lynn Cullen “cleverly spins a mysterious, dark tale” (Booklist) about the tangled relationships between Twain, Lyon, and Ashcroft, as well as the little-known love triangle between Helen Keller, her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy, and Anne’s husband, John Macy, which comes to light during their visit to Twain’s Connecticut home in 1909. Add to the party a furious Clara Clemens, smarting from her own failed love affair, and carefully kept veneers shatter. Based on Isabel Lyon’s extant diary, Twain’s writings, letters, photographs, and events in Twain’s boyhood that may have altered his ability to love, Twain’s End triumphs as “a tender evocation of a vain, complicated man’s twilight years and a last chance at love” (People).

Mark Twain for Dog Lovers: True and Imaginary Adventures with Man’s Best Friend edited by R. Kent Rasmussen

Twain specialist R. Kent Rasmussen traces the history of dogs in Mark Twain’s life, compiling 30 stories and extracts from Twain’s writings.

Mark Twain for Cat Lovers: True and Imaginary Adventures with Feline Friends edited by Mark Dawidziak

Twain scholar Mark Dawidziak explores Mark Twain’s lifelong devotion to cats through stories, excerpts, quotes, photos, and illustrations.

The Adventures of Mark Twain – 1985, directed by Will Vinton

Based on elements from the stories of Mark Twain, this feature-length Claymation fantasy follows the adventures of Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher and Huck Finn as they stowaway aboard the interplanetary balloon of Mark Twain.

–Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe

Stay in the loop and never miss out! Our weekly newsletter is the best way to stay informed on all things Library!
What are you waiting for?
Subscribe
24 May 2024
Memorial Day Weekend is upon us, and it is time to commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice...
Read More
23 May 2024
Ollie and Fiji had a wonderful time when they visited Livingston Library for our Paws to Read program! ...
Read More
23 May 2024
In addition to being one of the best TV shows of the year, Netflix’s Ripley has put a fresh spin on one...
Read More
22 May 2024
Celebrate Pride Month with a Pride Take Home Craft and some stories Marley’s Pride Rainbow a First...
Read More
22 May 2024
Combining riveting backstories with enchanting performances, these music documentaries (currently available...
Read More
21 May 2024
For 75 years now, May has been designated by Mental Health America (MHA) as Mental Health Awareness Month....
Read More
20 May 2024
Livingston Library Community, “Adventure Begins at Your Library” and so does summer fun! We invite you...
Read More
20 May 2024
Did you know that with your Livingston Library card you can listen to full albums by popular artists...
Read More
19 May 2024
Livingston Library Community,  True crime is one of the most popular genres at the library and it shows...
Read More
17 May 2024
Are you looking forward to reading Kristin Hannah’s “The Women,” or have you already read it and are...
Read More
The library will be closed Sunday, 5/26 and Monday, 5/27 in observance of Memorial Day.
The library will be closed Sunday, 5/26 and Monday, 5/27 in observance of Memorial Day.