How did Mark Twain develop his remarkable oral style of writing which was so carefully crafted? And what can we learn about nineteenth-century America from the public speeches of this humorist and teacher who charmed his country and exported his notions of Americanism around the world? This is the very first book-length critical analysis to deal exclusively with Twain's oratory. Another reference volume in the Great American Orators Series, it is designed for students, teachers, and professionals in the fields of speech communication and American studies.
The volume, bringing Mark Twain again to the center stage, opens with an assessment of Twain as a great American orator and then appraises his rhetoric, lectures, occasional speeches, and summarizes his impact on his listeners. Professor Vallin shows how he used humor, varying styles of satire to attack Victorian hegemony and to exalt the common man, and how he emerged as the Representative American. He used vernacular expressions to bridge different sections of the country and spoke hundreds of times to thousands of listeners on a wide variety of topics, giving both simple talks and well-planned addresses. Sixteen selected speeches exemplify his eloquent and varied styles as a communicator. The volume also provides a chronology, a bibliographical essay that is a definitive one on Mark Twain as a public speaker, and a general index.