Annotated Bibliography

A) Frost, Bob, Biography, 10927891, Oct2002, Vol. 6, Issue 10.

– This article highlights the life of Samuel Clemens, who we refer to commonly by his pen name “Mark Twain”. Frost goes through a part of Clemens life that is rarely heard today, leaving Mark Twain aside and focusing on who was the person Samuel Clemens. He explains how in 1857 a 21 year old Clemens was not at home writing great literature but was learning the art of piloting a steam boat. In 1859 he found regular employment across the river until the civil war which stopped civilian traffic across the Mississippi river. By 1862 a broke Clemens needed a job. He worked from a newspaper office, where he adopted the pen name “Mark Twain” which derived from steamboat slang that meant 12 feet of water. In 1865 his tale of Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog was printed in newspapers and magazines across the country. This article by Frost is useful because it shows who Samuel Clemens was and how he grew into being one of the greatest American writers of all time. It provides info about his personal life that we can relate to his literature.

B) Venturino, Steven j., “The Notorious Jumping reader of Calaveras County:Twain, Blanchot and a Dialetic of story telling.” Midwest Quarterly; summer 2008, vol. 49 issue 4, P374-387. Essay.

– This article tries to understand the dialect that “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Cavaleras County” was told in. Venturino focuses on the main character who is the narrator being “bored to death” as he sits and endures the story of Jim Smiley. He compares Maurice Blanchots phenomenological view of “freedom-by-way-of death” to Twains “humor-by-way-of-boredom”. In the article Venturino provides the readers with what he believed Twain was trying to say about Calaveras County and its people. From his analysis in the story Twain was recording his own experience as a reader. Venturino’s article is useful because it helps to provide clarification on some of the inconsistencies in the story.

C) Kanfer, Steven.”The Evolution of American Political Humor.” New Leader;Mar/Apr2008, Vol. 91 Issue 2, p17-20, Article.

– This article by Kanfer discusses the evolution of the political humor in the U.S with contributions from political humorist like Mark Twain, Bob Hope, etc. Twain is considered the originator of political humor in literature. Of course their were others before him but as story telling left on stage performances and found its way onto the lines of paper, Twain incorporate it best within his own literature. This article by Kanfer will be useful because it helps understand why Twain names his characters in “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Cavaleras County” with such ridiculous names, like a frog named Dan’l Webster who was a senator from Massachusetts in the times leading up to the civil war and a dog named Andrew Jackson who was our seventh president.

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