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AbeBooks Bookseller Since: April 30, Condition: Near Fine Soft cover. Save for Later. Shipping: Free Within U. Then, the heroine disappears riding down the river.

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For scholars, this sketch is a piece of a puzzle that adds depth to studies on independent women in Twain's work. For the uninitiated, it's like watching the first scenes of Pulp Fiction , or any film with pretitle action for that matter, without seeing what happens after the theme music ends. Of course, this collection was never intended to be more than what it is -- the most authoritative assembly of interrelated unfinished manuscripts which supplement explorations into all the "Hannibal" writings.

For years, the Twain community has used these fragments and no doubt new generations will put these puzzles to fresh uses. For them, and any Twainian who missed the opportunity to pick up a copy the first time around, this book is indispensable. Still, for those who've poured over these pages before, we can but wish the collection will someday warrant more than a simple reprint to become a true new edition.

What would be most useful is an introduction pulling some of the key materials from the extensive "Explanatory Notes" into preparatory pages at the beginning of the book. This would help readers unfamiliar with the contexts of the fragments for what follows rather than assuming anyone picking up this volume will take the time to thumb to the back matter to seek clarifying explanations.


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Of course, I'm talking about an audience the first edition wasn't attempting to reach, but even Twain devotees would find the collection more "user friendly" had the explanations been divided between preparatory and supplementary pages. In addition, such an introduction could include summaries of what speculations have been offered regarding the fragments. For example, those who've not read the suggestions published by Walter Blair long ago in Life magazine December 20, might be intrigued by Blair's notion that Twain abandoned "Indians" for fear he would have had to explore the issue of rape.

As the edition stands, it's worth noting that there remain issues and puzzles not resolved in the past 13 years. Those notes at the back of the volume are worthy of a second look. For example, the notes for "Jane Lampton Clemens" p. Scholars who've written about John Marshall Clemens taking "Charley" down river to sell him for a barrel of tar may need to rethink this conclusion -- the evidence is not conclusive one way or the other.

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Perhaps even old hands in Twain-craft can pick up fresh insights from this, ah, old horse. So, after 13 years, it's worthwhile for researchers, students, and libraries to have access to these hors d'oeuvres, and hopefully the volume can find a useful place in the classroom.

Students interested in Twain's views on Indians have the "Indians" fragment as well as the excellent notes which summarize Twain's views on Native Americans throughout his career.