Mark Twain under Fire tracks the genesis and evolution of Twain's reputation as a writer: his reception as a humorist, his "return fire" on genteel critics, and the development of academic criticism. As a history of Twain criticism, the book draws on English and foreign-language scholarship. Fulton discusses the forces and ideas that have influenced criticism, revealing how and why Mark Twain has been "under fire" from the advent of his career to the present day, when his masterpiece Huckleberry Finn remains one of America's most frequently banned books.
Camden House, 2016; Boydell & Brewer, 2018 ISBN 9781640140349
"Very few will think back to the initial reception of Twain's earliest newspaper writings, where this book begins. Fulton begins with those earliest writings and their reception, and explains how Twain's reputation evolved during his lifetime, and how his reputation continued to evolve as his writings attracted more serious criticism. He digs deep into many of the controversies that have followed ever since, producing a reliable and comprehensive survey of Mark Twain criticism." —Kevin MacDonnell, Mark Twain Forum