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Mark Twain's Book of Animals (Jumping Frogs: Undiscovered, Rediscovered, and Celebrated Writings of Mark Twain)

 
 
 
 
Mark Twain's Book of Animals (Jumping Frogs: Undiscovered, Rediscovered, and Celebrated Writings of Mark Twain)
Author: Mark Twain
ISBN 13: 9780520248557
ISBN 10: 520248554
Edition: 1
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2009-10-27
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 344
List Price: $85.00
 
 

"For those unaware—as I was until I read this book—that Mark Twain was one of America's early animal advocates, Shelley Fisher Fishkin's collection of his writings on animals will come as a revelation. Many of these pieces are as fresh and lively as when they were first written, and it's wonderful to have them gathered in one place." —Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation and The Life You Can Save

"A truly exhilarating work. Mark Twain's animal-friendly views would not be out of place today, and indeed, in certain respects, Twain is still ahead of us: claiming, correctly, that there are certain degraded practices that only humans inflict on one another and upon other animals. Fishkin has done a splendid job: I cannot remember reading something so consistently excellent."—Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep and The Face on Your Plate

"Shelley Fisher Fishkin has given us the lifelong arc of the great man's antic, hilarious, and subtly profound explorations of the animal world, and she's guided us through it with her own trademark wit and acumen. Dogged if she hasn't." —Ron Powers, author of Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain and Mark Twain: A Life

Publishers Weekly

Fishkin reports that Mark Twain's career-long fascination with instinctual yet intelligent creatures inspired Chuck E. Jones's creation of cartoon icons Wile E. Coyote and Bugs Bunny. Fishkin, director of American studies at Stanford and a Mark Twain authority, showcases the humorist's shrewd observations of both exotic and common animals, including his nemesis, the housefly (“I would go out of my way, and put aside my dearest occupation, to kill a fly”). She contrasts intentionally educational yet humorous commentary with a brutally detailed exposé on cockfighting and a denunciation of vivisection. This collection of letters, stories, travelogues and personal recollections—some appearing in print for the first time—effectively juxtaposes witty morality with bitterness manifested in his later work in which he rails against microbes and an uncaring Creator after losing three children to illness. Fishkin presents a lucid opening essay and informative endnotes. Animal lovers and fiction readers alike will want to read this illustration of an unfamiliar facet of an American literary giant. The anthology succinctly represents Twain's admiration for the animal kingdom and relentless optimism in the face of human inadequacies. (Nov.)