The Private History of Ambivalent Nostalgia: Mark Twain’s Civil War


The texts that Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain wrote about his Civil War experience put him in various shifting and unstable positions, ranging from boy soldier to Confederate Veteran. Rather than try to find an elusive historical truth, the article treats all of these adopted roles as poses, reacting to a variety of personal and societal demands, and telling more about the textuality of the war than about Twain’s biographical history, or his personal convictions. Among the texts under investigation are the well-known “The Private History of a Campaign that Failed” together with its lesser-known variations, as well as several public speeches from the 1870s to the “Lincoln Birthday Dinner Address” of 1901

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Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik (ZAA) is a peer-reviewed quarterly that reflects the entire spectrum of research on English and American language, literature and culture. Particular attention will be paid to the new literatures in English, the development of linguistic varieties outside of Britain and North America and the relationship between anglophone and neighbouring cultural areas.