The Literary Boyhoods of Mark Twain and Truman Capote

Presented by Bert Hitchcock, Ph. D., professor emeritus of English, Auburn University

Among the many writers who have made literary use of their growing-up years in the United States, Mark Twain and Truman Capote warrant special appreciation. Born 89 years apart, they were both products of their Southern and American cultures, and neither, in fact, experienced exactly an ideal childhood. Their 19th- and 20th-century societies were quite different, of course, and so too are the respective voices and tones they create in their best “boyhood” pieces. In these very memorable, evocative writings, however, Twain and Capote achieve artistic distinction that is itself a stay against time. While other of their relevant works will be referred to, attention will focus on Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Capote’s A Christmas Memory.

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