Is He Dead?

Is He Dead?

A Comedy in Three Acts

Book - 2003
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Baker & Taylor
In a play by Mark Twain, a group of impoverished artists living in Barbizon, France, stage the death of a friend to increase the value of his paintings and in the process, must engage in cross-dressing, deception, and romantic intrigue in order to make their plot succeed. (Literature)

University of California Press
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."

"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


Blackwell North Amer
This comedy, which has never appeared in print or on stage, is at last available to the wide audience Mark Twain always wished it to reach. Written in 1898 in Vienna, as Twain emerged from one of the deepest depressions of his life, Is He Dead? shows his superb gift for humor operating at its most energetic. A reflection of Twain's perennial fascination with the theater, the play is sure to become a treasured addition to his remarkable legacy.
Elements of farce and social satire work together in Is He Dead? as Twain takes a characteristically wry look at the world market in art. The play 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 various hilarious plots involving cross-dressing, a full-scale fake funeral, lovers' deceptions, and much more.

Baker
& Taylor

A group of impoverished artists living in France stage the death of a friend to increase the value of his paintings and then must engage in cross-dressing, deception, and romantic intrigue in order to make their plot succeed.

Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, c2003
ISBN: 9780520239791
0520239792
Branch Call Number: 812.4 TWA
Characteristics: xii, 233 p. : ill. ; 21 cm

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