Susan K. Harris, editor. Collected for the first time in a single volume, Mark Twain's three literary encounters with medieval and Renaissance Europe. The Prince and the Pauper, a children's classic, brings an adult American's point of view to the traditional society of Henry VIII's England. In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, a hilarious burlesque of knighthood gives way to a darker questioning of both ancient and modern society. The long unavailable fictional biography of "the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced," Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc provides a glimpse of the moral imagination of America's greatest humorist.
Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, in 1835, and died at Redding, Connecticut in 1910. In his person and in his pursuits he was a man of extraordinary contrasts. Although he left school at twelve when his father died, he was eventually awarded honorary degrees from Yale University, the University of Missouri, and Oxford University. His career encompassed such varied occupations as printer, Mississippi riverboat pilot, journalist, travel writer, and publisher. He made fortunes from his writing but toward the end of his life he had to resort to lecture tours to pay his debts. He was hot-tempered, profane, and sentimentaland also pessimistic, cynical, and tortured by self-doubt. His nostalgia helped produce some of his best books. He lives in American letters as a great artist, the writer whom William Dean Howells called "the Lincoln of our literature."
Susan K. Harris is Joyce and Elizabeth Hall Distinguished Professor of American Literature at the University of Kansas.