"Mark Twain," William Faulkner once observed, "was the first truly American writer, and all of us since are his heirs." In this unique collection scores of these literary legatees from the U.S. and around the world take the measure of Twain and his genius, among them: Jos Mart , Rudyard Kipling, Theodor Herzl, George Bernard Shaw, H. L. Mencken, Helen Keller, Jorge Luis Borges, Sterling Brown, George Orwell, T. S. Eliot, Richard Wright, W. H. Auden, Ralph Ellison, Kenzaburo Oe, Robert Penn Warren, Ursula Le Guin, Norman Mailer, Erica Jong, Gore Vidal, David Bradley, Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, Min Jin Lee, Roy Blount, Jr., and many others (including actor Hal Holbrook, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, stand-up comedians Dick Gregory and Will Rogers, and presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Barack Obama). Included are essays originally published in Chinese, Danish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Yiddish that have not previously been available in English, as well as the work of several visual artists, such as James Montgomery Flagg (creator of the "Uncle Sam Wants You" poster), French playwright and artist Jean Cocteau, and Chuck Jones (of Bugs Bunny fame). Published to mark the centennial of Twain's death, this collection testifies to the enduring and continuing legacy of the man William Dean Howells called "the Lincoln of our literature."
Shelley Fisher Fishkin, volume editor, is Professor of English and Director of American Studies at Stanford University. She is the author or editor of 33 books on Mark Twain including Lighting Out for the Territory: Reflections on Mark Twain and American Culture; Was Huck Black? Mark Twain and African-American Voices; Mark Twain's Book of Animals; and the 29-volume Oxford Mark Twain. She has served as president of the American Studies Association and of the Mark Twain Circle of America, and was a producer of Mark Twain's Is He Dead? on Broadway. She is a founding editor of the Journal of Transnational American Studies.