Is He Dead?: A Comedy in Three Acts (Jumping Frogs: by Mark Twain

By Mark Twain

The college of California Press is extremely joyful to announce the recent ebook of this three-act play by means of considered one of America's most crucial and well-loved writers. A hugely exciting comedy that hasn't ever seemed in print or on degree, Is He useless? is eventually to be had to the vast viewers Mark Twain wanted it to arrive. Written in 1898 in Vienna as Twain emerged from one of many inner most depressions of his existence, the play exhibits its author's significant present for humor working at its such a lot full of life. The textual content of Is He Dead?, in accordance with the manuscript within the Mark Twain Papers, looks the following including an illuminating essay by means of popular Mark Twain pupil Shelley Fisher Fishkin and with Barry Moser's unique woodcut illustrations in a quantity that might absolutely develop into a valuable addition to the Mark Twain legacy.

Richly intermingling parts of burlesque, farce, and social satire with a wry examine the area industry in paintings, Is He useless? facilities on a gaggle of negative artists in Barbizon, France, who degree the loss of life of a pal to force up the cost of his work. with a view to make this scheme prevail, the artists hatch a few hilarious plots regarding cross-dressing, a full-scale pretend funeral, lovers' deceptions, and masses more.

Mark Twain used to be interested by the theater and made many makes an attempt at playwriting, yet this play is definitely his most sensible. Is He useless? can have been too "out there" for the Victorian Eighteen Nineties, yet today's readers will completely take pleasure in Mark Twain's well-crafted discussion, exciting solid of characters, and especially, his attribute ebullience and humor. In Shelley Fisher Fishkin's estimation, it truly is "a champagne cocktail of a play--not too dry, no longer too candy, with simply the correct quantity of bubbles and buzz."


The theater used to be the acme of pop-cultural aspiration within the 19th century, and few writers pursued top acceptance extra ardently than Twain did. Of his numerous performs, purely the 1st, equipped round a personality created for a singular, used to be successful. His hopes have been excessive for the final, even though, loaded because it used to be with confirmed come-ons: a huge man-in-drag personality a los angeles the era's largest hit, Charley's Aunt; a setup--the debt-with-impossible-deadline owed an oily creditor--typical of boffo-BO melodramas of the time; idiotic musical interruptions a los angeles the emerging musical-theater mode, vaudeville; and as protagonist, the main recognized artist of the century, Francois Millet, whose The Angelus was once the 1st "million-dollar painting." Sound like a hodgepodge? it truly is. but, sparked via sufficient over-the-top humor, it's laugh-aloud humorous to learn. It most likely won't fly onstage this day, although, as editor Fishkin, whose informative afterword is itself virtually definitely worth the rate of admission, turns out to imagine. The pilots it needs--the Marx Brothers and W. C. Fields--are long past. Ray Olson

"This grasp of the unconventional proves additionally to be a grasp at play development. Is He lifeless? has all of the craftsmanship of a much more pro playwright's efforts, and the ambitions Twain establishes - lying and greed - are the dual evils he uncovered all through his unusual career." - Tony Lewis, windfall Journal-Bulletin "Worthy of Twain's legacy as America's maximum humorist." - Ledger "Sparked by means of adequate over-the-top humor, it truly is laugh-aloud humorous to read." - Booklist "This is one other gold nugget within the treasure condo of Mark Twain. That he may have spun out this type of rollicking satire at the hypocrisy of the paintings global, added within the spirit of 'Charley's Aunt,' whereas his personal spirit battled the ghosts of non-public loss, is one other beacon to the wild and marvelous genius of Mark Twain. Shelley Fisher Fishkin has performed it back, giving us the culmination of eye-opening, double-fathom study, pursuing approximately virgin byways of Mark Twain's literary and social lifestyles and exhibiting us how that colourful global affected the mood of his brain. I realized issues I by no means knew whereas racing via this book." - Hal Holbrook"

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Additional info for Is He Dead?: A Comedy in Three Acts (Jumping Frogs: Undiscovered, Rediscovered, and Celebrated Writings of Mark Twain)

Example text

ANDRÉ Then if you please we will drop this imaginary rot. I give you just 48 hours to pay that money in, or I’ll— MILLET You are forgetting yourself, Monsieur André, you have just used an expression which you will need to modify. That presently. Meantime I make you 38 * Is He Dead? this offer. Take all the pictures, including the new one, and call the account square. The Angelus has merit. ANDRÉ I decline. MILLET Very well. ANDRÉ Months ago you stepped between me and – – no matter about that, I’ll tell you frankly I made up my mind to make you sorry for it.

Not before everybody. (Billing and cooing between them. ) Dearest—you always act like that when I kiss you in public. CECILE I don’t! I mean you don’t. CHICAGO Don’t what? CECILE Kiss me in public. CHICAGO Well, now is that any of my fault? CECILE I wasn’t saying it was anybody’s fault. Fault? It’s a crime, that’s what it is. ) 18 * Is He Dead? Oh, is that all? I don’t care for those. Hey, the mourners are assembling. (Elderly ladies begin to file in, sadly, R. Enter mesdames audrienne, bathilde, and caron.

Show you the way. ) DUTCHY Allow me. (With bow. ) Run along to your mudder, now. ) You’ll hear from me again—all of you. 16 * Is He Dead? ) I’m so sorry, so sorry. PAPA Tut-tut! There—there, forget all about it. ) ’Mid pleasures and pala – – – – (Imaginary drum—marching. Stops. Glances about. ) Cheer up – – – cheer up—the worst is yet to come! CECILE Do be quiet, Agamemnon. ) Dot name – – – du leeber Gott! CECILE There’s nothing to be cheerful about, goodness knows. CHICAGO Don’t you believe it, honey.

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