"Mark Twain," William Faulkner once observed, "was the first truly American writer, and all of us since are his heirs." In this unique collection scores of these literary legatees from the U.S. and around the world take the measure of Twain and his genius, among them: José Martí, Rudyard Kipling, Theodor Herzl, George Bernard Shaw, H. L. Mencken, Helen Keller, Jorge Luis Borges, Sterling Brown, George Orwell, T. S. Eliot, Richard Wright, W. H. Auden, Ralph Ellison, Kenzaburo Oe, Robert Penn Warren, Ursula Le Guin, Norman Mailer, Erica Jong, Gore Vidal, David Bradley, Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, Min Jin Lee, Roy Blount, Jr., and many others (including actor Hal Holbrook, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, stand-up comedians Dick Gregory and Will Rogers, and presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Barack Obama). Included are essays originally published in Chinese, Danish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Yiddish that have not previously been available in English, as well as the work of several visual artists, such as James Montgomery Flagg (creator of the "Uncle Sam Wants You" poster), French playwright and artist Jean Cocteau, and Chuck Jones (of Bugs Bunny fame). Published to mark the centennial of Twain's death, this collection testifies to the enduring and continuing legacy of the man William Dean Howells called "the Lincoln of our literature."
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