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Mark Twain’s Book of Animals

Mark Twain (Author), Shelley Fisher Fishkin (Editor), Barry Moser (Illustrator)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 344 pages
ISBN: 9780520271524
July 2011
$24.95, £20.00
Other Formats Available:
Longtime admirers of Mark Twain are aware of how integral animals were to his work as a writer, from his first stories through his final years, including many pieces that were left unpublished at his death. This beautiful volume, illustrated with 30 new images by master engraver Barry Moser, gathers writings from the full span of Mark Twain’s career and elucidates his special attachment to and regard for animals. What may surprise even longtime readers and fans is that Twain was an early and ardent animal welfare advocate, the most prominent American of his day to take up that cause. Edited and selected by Shelley Fisher Fishkin, who has also supplied an introduction and afterword, Mark Twain’s Book of Animals includes stories that are familiar along with those that are appearing in print for the first time.
Shelley Fisher Fishkin is Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities, Professor of English and Director of American Studies at Stanford University. She is the author of many books, including Lighting Out for the Territory: Reflections on Mark Twain and American Culture and Was Huck Black? Mark Twain and African-American Voices. She edited Is He Dead?, a new play by Mark Twain, and is also the editor of the 29-volume Oxford Mark Twain. Barry Moser is one of America's foremost wood engravers and is the proprietor of the Pennyroyal Press. Among the books he has illustrated are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Moby Dick, or The Whale, all from UC Press. The Mark Twain Project is housed within the Mark Twain Papers, the world's largest archive of primary materials by this major American writer.
“Showcases the humorist's shrewd observations of both exotic and common animals, including his nemesis, the housefly (‘I would go out of my way, and put aside my dearest occupation, to kill a fly’). . . . Fishkin presents a lucid opening essay and informative endnotes. Animal lovers and fiction readers alike will want to read this illustration of an unfamiliar facet of an American literary giant. The anthology succinctly represents Twain's admiration for the animal kingdom and relentless optimism in the face of human inadequacies.”—Publishers Weekly
“Mark Twain's Book of Animals is a work that can easily be enjoyed by the casual reader of Twain and certainly qualifies as an essential volume for the devoted Twain scholar.”—Martin Zehr Mark Twain Forum
“This collection is as entertaining, visceral, sardonic and chastising as any of his [Twain’s] major works and also serves as a window on the man himself, as acute observer of his own species and unhesitating hurler of ‘animosity’ toward those who would maltreat members of his all-inclusive animal kingdom.”—Martin Zehr Kansas City Star
“Damn near flawless. . . . The perfect holiday gift-book. . . . Mark Twain’s Book of Animals serves its readers up America’s greatest humorist in all his moods–serious, knee-slapping, crusading, sentimental, etc. The key common note is that wonderful, inimitable voice we all know as if by instinct. . . . Any intelligently edited new Twain collection is always a welcome thing, and this volume is one of the best. Readers are urged not to miss it.”—Open Letters Blog
“Enjoy the tongue-twisting discourse Twain engages in with his two daughters about cats and much more.”—Cat Fancy
“Handsomely illustrated by Barry Moser, this collection pulls together all of the key animal tales, ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime.”—Mark Dawidziak Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Among those items near and dear to me are books, animals, Mark Twain and engravings - a short, snappy list that (gee, golly) can all be found in the new UC Press book "Mark Twain's Book of Animals," edited by Shelley Fisher Fishkin, with illustrations by master engraver Barry Moser. It's one of the most attractive books I've come across recently.”—Chris Watson’s Books And Authors Blog
“Brings together full stories, sketches, and brief passages that demonstrate Twain’s unique voice, skill as a writer, compassion, and humor. To enliven the proceedings, master engraver Barry Moser has created 30 images—portraits really—of the lead characters in crisp and detailed black and white. The engravings bring home the directness to Twain’s prose and add a special sense of wonder to this charming yet sobering book.”—R.k Dickson The Bloomsbury Review
"For those unaware—as I was until I read this book—that Mark Twain was one of America's early animal advocates, Shelley Fisher Fishkin's collection of his writings on animals will come as a revelation. Many of these pieces are as fresh and lively as when they were first written, and it's wonderful to have them gathered in one place." —Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation and The Life You Can Save

“A truly exhilarating work. Mark Twain's animal-friendly views would not be out of place today, and indeed, in certain respects, Twain is still ahead of us: claiming, correctly, that there are certain degraded practices that only humans inflict on one another and upon other animals. Fishkin has done a splendid job: I cannot remember reading something so consistently excellent."—Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep and The Face on Your Plate

"Shelley Fisher Fishkin has given us the lifelong arc of the great man's antic, hilarious, and subtly profound explorations of the animal world, and she's guided us through it with her own trademark wit and acumen. Dogged if she hasn't." —Ron Powers, author of Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain and Mark Twain: A Life
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Interview with the author, Shelley Fisher Fishkin

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