Play in Mark Twain’s Writings

Alan Gribben and Sarah Fredericks co-authored “Playing at Work and Working at Play in Mark Twain’s Writings” (pp. 45-63). They endeavored to recognize and cite (in notes and an extensive bibliography) the work of several dozen previous scholars in this beckoning area of Twain studies. Gribben and Fredericks suggest that the abbreviated childhood of Sam Clemens, together with the known dangers of the playful activities in which he managed to engage before he was taken from school and employed in a printing shop, can perhaps account for a noticeable linking of play with punishment throughout Mark Twain’s fiction and autobiographical writings. Gribben and Fredericks seek to expand the number of passages in his works that have commonly been viewed as centering on play and also to categorize subtle patterns in their narration and content.

Children’s Play in Literature: Investigating the Strengths and the Subversions of the Playing Child, ed. Joyce E. Kelley. Studies in Childhood Series. New York: Routledge, 2019. 271 pp. Index. Cloth.