Mark Twain at Home: How Family Shaped Twain’s Fiction explores the influence of domesticity on the writing and career of Samuel Clemens, reframing with rich biographical detail and historical context Twain’s major late-nineteenth-century work.

Twain scholar Michael J. Kiskis opens this fascinating new exploration of Twain with the observation that most readers have no idea that Samuel Clemens was the father of four and that he lived through the deaths of three of his children as well as his wife. In Mark Twain at Home: How Family Shaped Twain’s Fiction, Kiskis persuasively argues that not only was Mark Twain not, as many believe, “antidomestic,” but rather that home and family were the muse and core message of his writing.

Mark Twain was the child of a loveless marriage and a homelife over which hovered the constant specter of violence. Informed by his difficult childhood, orthodox readings of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn frame these canonical literary figures as nostalgic-autobiographical fables of heroic individualists slipping the bonds of domestic life.

Michael J. Kiskis was coeditor of Mark Twain’s Own Autobiography and Constructing Mark Twain.

Gary Scharnhorst is the author of Bret Harte: Opening the American Literary West and the editor of Mainly the Truth: Interviews with Mark Twain.

Laura Skandera Trombley is the author of Mark Twain’s Other Woman and Mark Twain in the Company of Women as well as a coeditor of Constructing Mark Twain.

“At a cultural moment when the humanities, and literary study more specifically, are striving to convince the world at large of their relevance, Michael Kiskis gives us a model of how to do so. It’s a remarkable piece of writing.”
—Ann Ryan, coeditor of Cosmopolitan Twain

“Kiskis’ focus on the centrality of domesticity and human connection is important to Mark Twain criticism, and, in many ways, a correction to the ways Mark Twain’s work and his life have been read and analyzed.”
—John Bird, author of Mark Twain and Metaphor

6 X 9, 128 pp
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1915-1 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-8990-1 Ebook
Price: $44.95