Briden, Earl F. “Twainian Pedagogy and the No-Account Lessons of ‘Hadleyburg.’” Studies in Short Fiction 28 (Spring, 1991): 125-234. Argues that within the context of Twain’s skepticism about man’s capacity for moral education “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg” is not a story about a town’s redemptive lessons of sin but rather an exposé about humanity’s inability to learn morality from either theory or practice, abstract principle or moral pedagogy.
Camfield, Gregg. The Oxford Companion to Mark Twain. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Collection of essays, including several by other scholars, on diverse aspects of Twain’s life and writing, with encyclopedia reference features. Includes a three-page entry on detective stories. Indexed.
Emerson, Everett. Mark Twain: A Literary Life. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000. Complete revision of Emerson’s The Authentic Mark Twain (1984), this masterful study traces the development of Twain’s writing against the events in his life and provides illuminating discussions of many individual works, including the mystery and detective stories discussed here. Indexed.
Fishkin, Shelley Fisher. Lighting Out for the Territory: Reflections on Mark Twain and American Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. A broad survey of Mark Twain’s influence on modern culture, including the many writers who have acknowledged their indebtedness to him; discusses Twain’s use of Hannibal, Missouri, in his writings; charts his transformation from a southern racist to a committed antiracist.
Fulton, Joe B. Mark Twain in the Margins: The Quarry Farm Marginalia and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” Alabama, 2000. An examination of the marginalia that Fulton finds revealing of the development of Twain’s Connecticut Yankee.
Horn, Jason Gary. Mark Twain: A Descriptive Guide to Biographical Sources. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1999. Richly annotated bibliography of nearly three hundred books and other sources on Mark Twain, including many works of criticism.
Kaplan, Justin. Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1966. Pulitzer Prize-winning biography is a superior general work on Twain’s life after 1861.
Lauber, John. The Inventions of Mark Twain. New York: Hill and Wang, 1990. Very well-written and often humorous, this biography reveals Twain as an extremely complex, self-contradictory individual. Includes an annotated bibliography.
Lauber, John. The Making of Mark Twain: A Biography. New York: American Heritage Press, 1985.
LeMaster, J. R., and James D. Wilson, eds. The Mark Twain Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1993. Comprehensive reference work broadly similar in organization to Rasmussen’s Critical Companion to Mark Twain, differing in devoting most of its space to literary analysis. Includes a long entry by Don L. F. Nilsen on detective fiction.
Leonard, James. S., ed. Making Mark Twain Work in the Classroom. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1999. Collection of essays by leading Twain scholars designed for students and teachers. Special attention is given to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Joan of Arc, Innocents Abroad, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Messent, Peter B. Mark Twain. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. A standard introduction to Twain’s life and works. Provides bibliographical references and an index.
Messent, Peter B. The Short Works of Mark Twain: A Critical Study. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001. Detailed exploration of Twain’s shorter works that takes the innovative approach of examining how Twain planned the individual collections in which they were first published in book form.
Paine, Albert Bigelow. Mark Twain: A Biography. 3 vols. 1912. Reprint. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1997. Often reprinted, this immense study by Twain’s authorized biographer and editor remains the fullest study of Twain’s life and benefits from Paine’s close personal acquaintance with Twain and his access to sources that no longer exist.
Powers, Ron. Mark Twain: A Life. New York: Free Press, 2005. A massive, engrossing biography which examines not only Twain’s life and work, but also his context. Includes bibliography and index.
Rasmussen, R. Kent. Bloom’s How to Write About Mark Twain. New York: Chelsea House, 2008. Practical guide to writing student essays on Mark Twain, with numerous general and specific suggestions on his major novels. Contains a general introduction to writing on Mark Twain and chapters on ten individual works, including Pudd’n head Wilson. Each chapter has a lengthy bibliography.
Rasmussen, R. Kent. Critical Companion to Mark Twain. New York: Facts On File, 2007. Revised and much expanded edition of Mark Twain A to Z (1995), which covered virtually every character, theme, place, and biographical fact relating to Mark Twain and contained the most complete chronology ever compiled. Among new features in this retitled edition are lengthy critical essays on Twain’s major works, including all the mystery and detective stories discussed here; an extensive, annotated bibliography; and a glossary of unusual words in Mark Twain’s writings. Indexed.
Rasmussen, R. Kent. Mark Twain A-Z. New York: Facts on File, 1995. The most impressive reference tool available. Virtually every character, theme, place, and biographical fact can be researched in this compendious volume. Contains the most complete chronology ever compiled.
Sanborn, Margaret. Mark Twain: The Bachelor Years. New York: Doubleday, 1990. This biography covers the adventure-filled years from the author’s boyhood to marriage in 1870 at age thirty-four. Based on extensive research into letters written to Twain’s mother, sister, brothers, and close friends. Includes many letters not referenced by Twain’s official biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine. Also includes valuable insights gained from 184 letters written between 1868 and 1870, while courting Olivia Langdon, whom Twain eventually married.
Sloane, David E. E. Student Companion to Mark Twain. New York: Greenwood Press, 2001. Essays on aspects of Twain’s life, with special chapters on individual books.
Smith, Henry Nash. Mark Twain: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963. A collection of essays with an introduction by Smith. Among the contributors is W. H. Auden. A chronology of important dates in the author’s life is also included.
Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. University of California, 2001. The complete original manuscript, including more than six hundred excised pages.
Twain, Mark. Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews. Edited by Gary Scharnhorst. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2006. This volume is comprised of interviews with Mark Twain dating from 1871 to 1910, presented in chronological order. The interviews paint a vivid picture of Twain, bringing to life his speech patterns and idiosyncracies, his likes and dislikes, and his philosophies on life and writing. Editor Gary Scharnhorst makes the book easily accessible to those unfamiliar with Twain by providing annotations to clarify the historical and biographical references.
Twain, Mark. The Stolen White Elephant, and Other Detective Stories, edited by Shelley Fisher Fishkin. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Omnibus volume containing facsimile reprints of the first American editions of The Stolen White Elephant, and Other Stories (1882), Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896), and A Double-Barrelled Detective Story (1902). Part of the twenty-nine-volume Oxford Mark Twain edition, this volume also includes a new introduction by mystery writer Walter Mosley and an analytical afterword by scholar Lillian S. Robinson.
Wagenknecht, Edward. Mark Twain: The Man and His Work. 3d ed. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967. A thorough revision of the 1935 work in which Wagenknecht considers the vast historical and critical study conducted between 1935 and 1960. He has modified many of his original ideas, most notably, that Mark Twain was “The Divine Amateur.” The original chapter with that title has been rewritten and renamed “The Man of Letters.”
Ward, Geoffrey C., and Dayton Duncan. Mark Twain: An Illustrated Biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. A heavily illustrated companion to the PBS television documentary. More than a picture book, however, this volume provides ample biographical information that is well researched and thoughtfully presented.
Wieck, Carl F. Refiguring “Huckleberry Finn.”Georgia, 2000. A novel approach to the meaning and influence of Twain’s best-known work; Wieck concentrates on certain key words to decipher the text.
Wilson, James D. A Reader’s Guide to the Short Stories of Mark Twain. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1987. Detailed summaries and analyses of sixty-five stories, including several that appear within Twain’s travel books.
Wonham, Henry B. Mark Twain and the Art of the Tall Tale. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Discusses how Twain used the tall-tale conventions of interpretive play, dramatic encounters, and the folk community. Focuses on the relationship between storyteller and audience in Twain’s fiction.