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The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco writers who reinvented American literature

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Mark Twain roars into San Francisco in 1863. Pretty soon he's drunk on champagne, oysters, and the city's intoxicating energy. Twenty-seven years old, fleeing the Civil War and seeking adventure, Twain finds a global seaport flush with new money and peopled by fortune seekers from five continents. The war that is ravaging the rest of the country has only made San Francisco richer- the economy booms, and newspapers and magazines thrive, feeding the city's growing literary scene. The bards of the moment are the Bohemians, a band of young eccentric writers seeking to create a new American voice at the country's edge. There's literary golden boy Bret Harte; struggling gay poet Charles Warren Stoddard; and beautiful, haunted Ina Coolbrith, poet and protector of the group. Twain joins their ranks, and the experiences that follow put him on the path to greatness.

The Bohemians find inspiration in their surroundings- the dark ironies of frontier humor, the extravagant tales told around the campfires, and the youthful irreverence of the new world being formed in the West. Harte is the group's star, a rising figure on the national scene and mentor to both Stoddard and Coolbrith. Young and ambitious, Twain and Harte form the Bohemian core, but as Harte's reputation grows - drawing attention from eastern tastemakers such as the Atlantic Monthly - a young Twain flounders, suffering a crisis of confidence that almost leads him to abandon writing altogether. Ben Tarnoff's elegant, atmospheric history reveals how these four pioneering western writers reinvented American literature by challenging the musty classicism of the eastern establishment. The Bohemian moment that began in San Francisco would continue in Boston, New York, and London, and would achieve immortality in the writings of Mark Twain. San Francisco gave him his education as a writer and helped inspire the astonishing innovations that radically reimagined American literature. At once an intimate portrait of an unforgettable group of writers and a history of a cultural revolution in America, The Bohemians reveals how a brief moment on the Far Western frontier changed our country forever.

Praise for Ben Tarnoff's A Counterfeiter's Paradise

'Ben Tarnoff captures the wild early years of America's financial system . . . . It's a colorful tale but also an enlightening one that helps us understand our financial culture back then - and even today.' Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin- An American Life

'Fascinating . . . history as it should be written, brimming with the sort of vivid details that make the past come alive.' Liaquat Ahamed, author of Lords of Finance

'Tarnoff is the genuine article. I welcome his voice to that tiny chorus of writers who can make American history come alive without dumbing it down.' Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers and American Sphinx

'What an ingenious idea for a book and what a rousing story! A truly gifted writer, Ben Tarnoff has brought to life three unforgettable characters while at the same time providing a window onto the tumultuous financial situation that characterized early American life.' Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of The Bully Pulpit- Theodore Roosevelt , William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism and Team of Rivals

'Lively and insightful . . . makes the most out of the entertaining tale of three master counterfeiters, using their careers to open an unexpected window on the making of the American economic imagination.' T. J. Stiles, author of The First Tycoon- The Epic Life of Cornelous Vanderbilt and Jesse James- Last Rebel of the Civil War

'A rollicking good read.'

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 453ab1da-4160-2823-11a8-1775ff79cd6b
Grouping Title bohemians mark twain and the san francisco writers who reinvented american literature
Grouping Author tarnoff ben
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-11-18 23:28:41PM
Last Indexed 2018-11-19 00:44:35AM

Solr Details

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author Ben Tarnoff
author_display Tarnoff, Ben
available_at_catalog Bellevue, Bellevue Kids, Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Non-Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Bellevue - Adult Non-Fiction, Green Hills - Adult Non-Fiction, Main Library - Adult Non-Fiction
display_description Traces the birth of modern America as reflected by the writings of Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Charles Warrant Stoddard and Ina Coolbrith, placing their achievements and personal lives against a backdrop of the post-Gold Rush era in California.
format_catalog Book, eBook
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id 453ab1da-4160-2823-11a8-1775ff79cd6b
isbn 159420473, 9780698151628, 9781594204739
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lexile_score -1
literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog 810.9979 T189b
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Bellevue, Bellevue Kids, Green Hills, Green Hills Kids, Main Kids, Main Library
primary_isbn 9781594204739
publishDate 2014
record_details ils:CARL0000428937|Book|Books||English|The Penguin Press,|[2014]|319 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm., overdrive:96d229a6-2343-4903-bda0-e8c6474613f7|eBook|eBook||English|Penguin Publishing Group|2014|
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subject_facet American literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism, Authors, American -- 19th century -- Biography, Authors, American -- Homes and haunts -- California -- San Francisco, Coolbrith, Ina D. -- (Ina Donna), -- 1842?-1928, Harte, Bret, -- 1836-1902, Stoddard, Charles Warren, -- 1843-1909, Twain, Mark, -- 1835-1910
title_display The Bohemians : Mark Twain and the San Francisco writers who reinvented American literature
title_full The Bohemians : Mark Twain and the San Francisco writers who reinvented American literature / Ben Tarnoff, The Bohemians Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature
title_short The Bohemians :
title_sub Mark Twain and the San Francisco writers who reinvented American literature
topic_facet American literature, Authors, American, Biography & Autobiography, Coolbrith, Ina D, Harte, Bret, History, History and criticism, Homes and haunts, Nonfiction, Stoddard, Charles Warren, Twain, Mark