This is an assertion that travel books are vital to Mark Twain's identity as a writer and to his cultural influence and not just, as many critics have argued, preliminary sketches or failed attempts at fiction. The book begins by outlining the conventions of travel writing in the 19th century and proceeds to document Twain's subversion of those conventions to his own ends: a reinvention of the genre. The remainder of the study examines Twain's travel narratives individually charting a progression from the Old World in ""The Innocents Abroad"" to the New World in ""Roughing It"" and finally his last travel narrative, ""Following the Equator"" where Twain searches for a complete escape from the ""tourist"" perspective. Twain's travelogues highlight the author's philosophical and moral evolution as a writer from the worldviews of ""innocence"" to ""experience"" and this book provides a perspective from which to view his entire body of work.
Publisher: The University of Alabama Press
Number of pages: 184
Weight: 476 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
"This book should be compelling to anyone interested in Twain, travel writing, or Americans' attitudes about travel. It may be a testament to Twain's enduring insights--or maybe just proof that human nature doesn't change--that his observations about American travelers are as relevant in the age of the jet as they were in the days of the steamship"--Foreword
"Melton's book addresses the issues of race, imperialism and culture in a measured, thoughtful way. . . . Melton is making deliberate headway and guiding the reader upstream, not simply allowing the reader to be swept passively along with the tide"--Mark Twain Forum
"Worthwhile reading for humor scholars, Twainiacs, and those interested in travel and travel theory generally." -- Choice