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‘Littery Man’Mark Twain and Modern Authorship$
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Richard S. Lowry

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195102123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195102123.001.0001

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Coda: “Speaking from the Grave”

Coda: “Speaking from the Grave”

Chapter:
(p.148) Coda: “Speaking from the Grave”
Source:
‘Littery Man’
Author(s):

Richard S. Lowry

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195102123.003.0006

Twain puts in Life on the Mississippi (1883) that writers are “manacled servants of the public.” During the last decade of his life, the intention in making his autobiography was to escape the manacles of his reading audience. In other words, this last work was his final attempt to put down his pen and stop writing. The result was to give its maker complete freedom in composition. Mark Twain wanted to preserve this freedom and guarantee that this was true by allowing his autobiography to be published after his death. He then starts his autobiography addressing the reader that they should keep in mind that he is “speaking from the grave.” He ends his final installment with his account of the Whittier Birthday banquet.

Keywords:   Mississippi, Whittier, autobiography, freedom, composition

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