Mad Mark Twain: Rage and Rhetoric in the Life and Works of Samuel L. Clemens
AuthorFredericks, Sarah Elizabeth
AdvisorJenkins, Jennifer L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 06/19/2022
AbstractInterweaving literary biography, rhetoric, and emotion studies, this dissertation argues that anger was fundamental to Mark Twain’s social and literary epistemologies. Although scholars have largely dismissed his temper as anecdotal, Twain considered anger vital to maintaining social order and strategically employed angry rhetoric in his personal and professional writings. Neither irrational nor haphazard, Twain’s vitriol demonstrates remarkable rhetorical awareness and literary artistry. Whether haranguing his publishers about dwindling profits or eviscerating his private secretary Isabel Lyon in the little-known Ashcroft-Lyon Manuscript, Twain weaponized his emotions utilizing classical Aristotelian theories of persuasion. Moreover, many defining literary tropes of Twain’s most celebrated works originated in these angry texts, further cementing their importance to his literary development. Through close reading of his newspaper articles, letters, and autobiographical texts, this study traces evolving rhetorical patterns in Twain’s vituperation and demonstrates how his anger script impacted his participation in nineteenth-century literary culture.
Degree ProgramGraduate College