watson, jr. Reviews the author here as reconnecting with an artistic form, and the sentimentalism it released, which still spoke powerfully to him despite its problematic aesthetic (`blackface') and uncritical sociopolitical message." The contributors are more uniformly in agreement that the novel is inconsistent--and even incoherent--in its development of ideas. "No one ever said Mark Twain was a logician," quips Leonard. There is consensus as well that in No. 44 Clemens drew heavily on his reading. Horst Kruse argues very convincingly that Adelbert von Chamisso's The Shadowless Man; or, The Wonderful History of Peter Schlemihl (1814) was a major source "of inspiration for the character of the mysterious stranger." Meanwhile, Gregg Camfield invokes Johann Friedrich Herbart, William James, and Mary Baker Eddy to illustrate his bold but well-founded belief that No. 44 "is all about . . . theories of the human mind." In a learned and beautifully written essay, Randall Knoper situates Clemens' materialist psychology in "the larger currents of British psychophysiology, French neurology, German psychophysics, and American mental science." Editors Csicsila and Rohman are to be commended for bringing these informed and wide ranging critical perspectives together in a single volume. Thanks to their efforts, No.
American Literary Realism – University of Illinois Press
Published: Sep 21, 2011
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