The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (Paperback)

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The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today

June 18-. Squire Hawkins sat upon the pyramid of large blocks, called the "stile," in front of his house, contemplating the morning.The locality was Obedstown, East Tennessee. You would not know that Obedstown stood on the top of a mountain, for there was nothing about the landscape to indicate it-but it did: a mountain that stretched abroad over whole counties, and rose very gradually. The district was called the "Knobs of East Tennessee," and had a reputation like Nazareth, as far as turning out any good thing was concerned.

About the book
  • The Gilded Age in United States history is a period approximately spanning the final three decades of the nineteenth century; from the end of the Reconstruction Era in the 1870s to 1900. The term was coined by writers Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, which they published in 1873, and which satirized what they believed to be an era of serious social problems disguised by a thin gold gilding. Charles Dudley Warner, a writer and editor, was a neighbor and good friend of Mark Twain in Hartford, Connecticut.
  • According to Twain's biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine, their wives challenged Twain and Warner at dinner to write a better novel than what they were used to reading. Twain wrote the first eleven chapters, followed by twelve chapters written by Warner. Most of the remaining chapters were also written by only one of them, but the concluding chapters were attributed to joint authorship. The entire novel was completed between February and April 1873. Contemporary critics, while praising its humor and satire, did not consider the collaboration a success because the independent stories written by each author did not mesh well.
  • A review published in 1874 compared the novel to a badly-mixed salad dressing, in which "the ingredients are capital, the use of them faulty. The term gilded age, commonly given to the era, comes from the title of this book. Twain and Warner got the name from Shakespeare's King John (1595): "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily... is wasteful and ridiculous excess." (Act IV, scene 2) Gilding gold, which would be to put gold on top of gold, is excessive and wasteful, characteristics of the age Twain and Warner wrote about in their novel. Another interpretation of the title, of course, is the contrast between an ideal "Golden Age" and a less worthy "Gilded Age," as gilding is only a thin layer of gold over baser metal, so the title now takes on a pejorative meaning as to the novel's time, events and people. The novel concerns the efforts of a poor rural Tennessee family to become affluent by selling in a timely manner the 75,000 acres (300 km2) of unimproved land acquired by their patriarch, Silas "Si" Hawkins. After several adventures in Tennessee, the family fails to sell the land and Si Hawkins dies.
  • The theme of the novel is that the lust for getting rich through land speculation pervades society, illustrated by the Hawkinses as well as Ruth's well-educated father, who nevertheless cannot resist becoming enmeshed in self-evidently dubious money-making schemes.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781659655803
ISBN-10: 1659655803
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: January 12th, 2020
Pages: 336
Language: English