Twain, Mark - Mark Twain Collected Stories - ( Item 129510 )
Published in London by Folio Society. 2011. First Thus. 3 Fine Hardbacks. No inscriptions or bookplates. Fine slipcase. 3 volumes. Bound in buckram. Printed with indvidual designs by Roger Fereday. Set in Deepdene. 928 pages in total. It was Ernest Hemingway who said, 'all modern American literature comes from one book called Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain'. As well as being a great novelist, Mark Twain was a brilliant and prolific writer of short stories, using them to capture a dazzling variety of characters, landscapes and registers. This edition gathers together nearly 50 of his greatest tales, revealing his extraordinary versatility: humorous and satirical pieces, parodies, shaggy-dog stories and darker, more suspenseful tales. In three beautiful volumes, illustrated by Roger Fereday and with an introduction by Robert McCrum, this is a collection to savour. The stories in this collection span Twain's entire career, from the 'Jumping Frog' of 1865, to 'The Mysterious Stranger', published posthumously in 1916. Some are satirical: 'The Story of the Bad Little Boy' subverts the moralistic children's tales of the day while 'A Day at Niagara' examines the dubious delights of Niagara Falls and lampoons the mythology of the 'noble Red Man'. Some would appear to be partly autobiographical: 'Playing Courier' is a heartfelt account of the difficulty of travelling in Europe (or anywhere) with a large and unwieldy group, while 'Hunting the Deceitful Turkey' describes a distinctively American childhood memory with equal humour and vividness. Few writers have ever been funnier than Mark Twain, and there are many passages here that will make the reader laugh out loud. But this collection also shows a darker, more unsettling side of Twain's work. 'The Invalid's Story' tells of a man tasked with a grim legacy to bury a friend's body, and is as macabre as anything in William Faulkner's oeuvre. 'A Double-Barreled Detective Story', a chilling, suspenseful tale of marital cruelty and revenge, features a cameo appearance by Sherlock Holmes. All of these diverse and unpredictable tales bear Twain's hallmark. Reading them, it is easy to see how he has influenced the work of great American writers from Ernest Hemingway to J. D. Salinger.
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