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Is he dead? : a comedy in three acts /
Mark Twain ; edited with foreword, afterword, and notes by Shelley Fisher Fishkin ; text established by the Mark Twain Project, the Bancroft Library ; illustrations by Barry Moser.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2003.
description
xii, 233 p. : ill.
ISBN
0520239792 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
geographic term
genre index term
More Details
series author
series title
series title
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2003.
isbn
0520239792 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
5005381
 
Includes bibliographical references.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"This is another gold nugget in the treasure house of Mark Twain. That he could have spun out such a rollicking satire on the hypocrisy of the art world, delivered in the spirit of 'Charley's Aunt,' while his own spirit battled the ghosts of personal loss, is another beacon to the wild and surprising genius of Mark Twain. Shelley Fisher Fishkin has done it again, giving us the fruits of eye-opening, double-fathom research, pursuing nearly virgin byways of Mark Twain's literary and social life and showing us how that colorful world affected the temper of his mind. I learned things I never knew while racing through this book."--Hal Holbrook
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-04-01:
Including excellent fore- and afterwords and notes by Fishkin (Stanford), this first edition of "Is He Dead?" is based on a text established by the Mark Twain Project. Although Twain had great hopes for the play's success, it has never been performed on stage, even though during his lifetime Twain made several attempts to convince Bram Stoker, Charles Frohman, and others that the play could be very popular. "Is He Dead?" is a spirited romp through the pretentious European art salons, featuring critics, tour guides, and exploiters. Greedy art dealers and artists surrounding the great Jean Francois Millet contest to benefit from the artist's work. The satire is great fun, including a Millet in drag, his pretended death (in order to jack up the value of his paintings), and lots of inspired skullduggery as the artists and students defeat the deceitful art dealers and salon groupies. The play smacks of the fun and artistry of Huck Finn and Pudd'nhead Wilson. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All collections. D. R. Stoddard emeritus, Strayer University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, October 2003
Choice, April 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'Is He Dead?' is a comedy by Mark Twain that has never appeared in print or on stage. Written in 1898 in Vienna as Twain emerged from one of the deepest depressions of his life, the play shows its author's superb gift for humour operating at its most energetic.
Long Description
The University of California Press is delighted to announce the new publication of this three-act play by one of America's most important and well-loved writers. A highly entertaining comedy that has never appeared in print or on stage,Is He Dead'is finally available to the wide audience Mark Twain wished it to reach. Written in 1898 in Vienna as Twain emerged from one of the deepest depressions of his life, the play shows its author's superb gift for humor operating at its most energetic. The text ofIs He Dead?,based on the manuscript in the Mark Twain Papers, appears here together with an illuminating essay by renowned Mark Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin and with Barry Moser's original woodcut illustrations in a volume that will surely become a treasured addition to the Mark Twain legacy. Richly intermingling elements of burlesque, farce, and social satire with a wry look at the world market in art,Is He Dead'centers on a group of poor artists in Barbizon, France, who stage the death of a friend to drive up the price of his paintings. In order to make this scheme succeed, the artists hatch some hilarious plots involving cross-dressing, a full-scale fake funeral, lovers' deceptions, and much more. Mark Twain was fascinated by the theater and made many attempts at playwriting, but this play is certainly his best.Is He Dead'may have been too "out there" for the Victorian 1890s, but today's readers will thoroughly enjoy Mark Twain's well-crafted dialogue, intriguing cast of characters, and above all, his characteristic ebullience and humor. In Shelley Fisher Fishkin's estimation, it is "a champagne cocktail of a play--not too dry, not too sweet, with just the right amount of bubbles and buzz."
Long Description
The University of California Press is delighted to announce the new publication of this three-act play by one of America's most important and well-loved writers. A highly entertaining comedy that has never appeared in print or on stage, "Is He Dead?" is finally available to the wide audience Mark Twain wished it to reach. Written in 1898 in Vienna as Twain emerged from one of the deepest depressions of his life, the play shows its author's superb gift for humor operating at its most energetic. The text of "Is He Dead?," based on the manuscript in the Mark Twain Papers, appears here together with an illuminating essay by renowned Mark Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin and with Barry Moser's original woodcut illustrations in a volume that will surely become a treasured addition to the Mark Twain legacy. Richly intermingling elements of burlesque, farce, and social satire with a wry look at the world market in art, "Is He Dead?" centers on a group of poor artists in Barbizon, France, who stage the death of a friend to drive up the price of his paintings. In order to make this scheme succeed, the artists hatch some hilarious plots involving cross-dressing, a full-scale fake funeral, lovers' deceptions, and much more. Mark Twain was fascinated by the theater and made many attempts at playwriting, but this play is certainly his best. "Is He Dead?" may have been too "out there" for the Victorian 1890s, but today's readers will thoroughly enjoy Mark Twain's well-crafted dialogue, intriguing cast of characters, and above all, his characteristic ebullience and humor. In Shelley Fisher Fishkin's estimation, it is "a champagne cocktail of a play--not too dry, not too sweet, with justthe right amount of bubbles and buzz."
Main Description
The University of California Press is delighted to announce the new publication of this three-act play by one of America's most important and well-loved writers. A highly entertaining comedy that has never appeared in print or on stage, Is He Dead? is finally available to the wide audience Mark Twain wished it to reach. Written in 1898 in Vienna as Twain emerged from one of the deepest depressions of his life, the play shows its author's superb gift for humor operating at its most energetic. The text of Is He Dead?, based on the manuscript in the Mark Twain Papers, appears here together with an illuminating essay by renowned Mark Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin and with Barry Moser's original woodcut illustrations in a volume that will surely become a treasured addition to the Mark Twain legacy. Richly intermingling elements of burlesque, farce, and social satire with a wry look at the world market in art, Is He Dead? centers on a group of poor artists in Barbizon, France, who stage the death of a friend to drive up the price of his paintings. In order to make this scheme succeed, the artists hatch some hilarious plots involving cross-dressing, a full-scale fake funeral, lovers' deceptions, and much more. Mark Twain was fascinated by the theater and made many attempts at playwriting, but this play is certainly his best. Is He Dead? may have been too "out there" for the Victorian 1890s, but today's readers will thoroughly enjoy Mark Twain's well-crafted dialogue, intriguing cast of characters, and above all, his characteristic ebullience and humor. In Shelley Fisher Fishkin's estimation, it is "a champagne cocktail of a play--not too dry, not too sweet, with just the right amount of bubbles and buzz."
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Foreword
Is He Dead?
Afterword
Notes
Acknowledgments
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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