Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Competence, Power, and the Nostalgic Romance of Piloting in Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi

Competence, Power, and the Nostalgic Romance of Piloting in Mark Twain's Life on the... Competence, Power, and the Nostalgic Romance of Piloting in Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi by Brian McCammack Mark Twain’s fascination with competence and power is evi- dent in many of his characters, particularly in his largely autobiographi- cal works that explore his formative experiences in the western frontier— Roughing It and Life on the Mississippi. While Twain admires aspects of both powerful characters and competent characters, in the fi nal analy- sis competence commands more of his respect than does sheer power. He often expresses ambivalence toward powerful characters in his texts, while competent characters are almost always revered. Embedded in dis- cussions of power and competence are confl icting romantic visions of a radically individualistic western American character. One vision derives from the myth of a Wild West violent individuality, the other from a more scientifi c and professional rugged individualism. Yet the relation cannot be so easily reduced to a sort of binary; there are many complexi- ties and ambivalences prevalent in Twain’s writing on this subject. Sev- eral critics have explored aspects of these issues as they appear in Rough- ing It and Life on the Mississippi, but the interrelations between Twain’s attitude toward issues http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Competence, Power, and the Nostalgic Romance of Piloting in Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 38 (2) – May 31, 2006

Loading next page...
 
/lp/university-of-north-carolina-press/competence-power-and-the-nostalgic-romance-of-piloting-in-mark-twain-QGPNPhaG10
Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Competence, Power, and the Nostalgic Romance of Piloting in Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi by Brian McCammack Mark Twain’s fascination with competence and power is evi- dent in many of his characters, particularly in his largely autobiographi- cal works that explore his formative experiences in the western frontier— Roughing It and Life on the Mississippi. While Twain admires aspects of both powerful characters and competent characters, in the fi nal analy- sis competence commands more of his respect than does sheer power. He often expresses ambivalence toward powerful characters in his texts, while competent characters are almost always revered. Embedded in dis- cussions of power and competence are confl icting romantic visions of a radically individualistic western American character. One vision derives from the myth of a Wild West violent individuality, the other from a more scientifi c and professional rugged individualism. Yet the relation cannot be so easily reduced to a sort of binary; there are many complexi- ties and ambivalences prevalent in Twain’s writing on this subject. Sev- eral critics have explored aspects of these issues as they appear in Rough- ing It and Life on the Mississippi, but the interrelations between Twain’s attitude toward issues

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 31, 2006

There are no references for this article.