How to Tell a Story and Other Essays (1897)

How to Tell a Story and Other Essays (1897)

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A series of essays by Twain on reading and writing. "How to Tell a Story," the title piece illuminates Twain's own intuitive story-telling genius, as he describes the three elements -- the pause, poker-faced pseudo-innocence, and the performance of a pretended identity -- that shape his writing. Even more intriguing, he looks at his celebrated dramatic performances of his written work, describing his struggle to perfect the delivery of Jim Blaine's story of his Grandfather's Ram (fromRoughing It), and comparing the end result to the original written version. Other pieces include "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses," as Twain takes Cooper to task for committing, "in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page [of The Deerslayer] .... 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115." In the process of his scathing attack, Twain again gives us a clear view into his own writing, objecting above all to the fact that Cooper's characters do not sound or act like real human beings. In other pieces, Twain defends the virtue of a dead woman, tries to protect ordinary citizens from insult by railroad conductors, and, in "The Private History of the 'Jumping Frog' Story," translates his celebrated story first into the "original" French, and then back into English. A delightful collection of Twain's wit and wisdom.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 170.18 x 215.9 x 30.48mm | 657.71g
  • Oxford University Press, USA
  • United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0195114183
  • 9780195114188

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1,481 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
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3 34% (502)
2 10% (149)
1 3% (42)
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