Susan Manning
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Did Mark Twain bring down the temple on Scott’s shoulders?

This chapter looks at the relationship between Ivanhoe and Mark Twain's belated, bloated satiric fantasy of chivalry, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. It argues that there is a real connection for an American writer between Walter Scott and the Civil War, though the manner of its expression in Twain's writing has misled scholars of both writers since, as to its nature. Twain's apocalyptic indictment both literalises the purity of 'the temple' and brings it down. In Life on the Mississippi, Twain delivered an indictment of sorcery on Scott himself, via the literary seduction his novels had wrought on the imagination of the American South. The assignment of responsibility for the Civil War is by no means an isolated attack in Twain's work: running skirmishes with Scott persist in his writing through markedly changing cultural conditions for the production and sale of American literature.

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Anglo-American affinities and antagonisms 1854–1936


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