Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Book of the Year
"Mark Twain in the Company of Women explores the key role women played in Mark Twain's life as a writer, probing the ways in which women nurtured, shaped, and, indeed, made possible some of Twain's most lasting creative achievements. This fascinating, fresh, and well researched study fills in a number of important gaps in Twain scholarship, and merits the attention of anyone interested in the man and his art."—Shelley Fisher Fishkin, University of Texas, AustinRiverboat pilot, Western correspondent, silver prospector, and world traveler, Samuel Clemens has long seemed the quintessential man's man. To Laura Skandera-Trombley, however, he is a writer who intentionally surrounded himself with women, one whose capacity to produce fiction had almost as much to do with the environment shaped by his female family and associates as with his own talent and genius.
"[This book] supports a valuable idea, that Samuel Langhorne Clemens's relationships with women and with feminism contributed to his creative life to an unmistakably large extent. . . . Skandera-Trombley unearths a stunning array of material on the intersection of nineteenth-century American feminism and the nineteenth century's most important literary figure."—Nineteenth-Century Literature
"This book is to be applauded for its ambition, for its revisioning of the positive power of the 'company of women' on Clemens's career, and for its careful and revealing historical research."—American Historical Review
In Mark Twain in the Company of Women, Skandera-Trombley resettles Clemens in the company of the women authors with whom he corresponded; his daughters Susy, Clara, and Jean; the inhabitants of the progressive community of Elmira, New York; and, perhaps most important, his beloved wife, Livy, who emerges here as a figure of strength, intelligence, and influence.
Laura E. Skandera-Trombley is Associate Professor of English and Assistant Provost and Special Assistant to the President at the State University of New York College at Potsdam. She is the Executive Coordinator for the Mark Twain Circle of America.