Mark Twain and the Novel: The Double-Cross of Authority

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Mark Twain was an author both drawn to and suspicious of authority, and his novels reflect this tension. Marked by disruptions, repetitions and contradictions, they exemplify the ideological stand-off between the American ideal of individual freedom and the reality of social control. This book provides a fresh look at Twain's major novels such as Life on the Mississippi, Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The difficulties in these works are shown to be neither flaws nor failures, but rather intrinsic to both the structure of the American novel and the texture of American culture.