Seminararbeit, 2003, 10 Seiten
II. Short Biography of Mark Twain
III. The History of “The Jumping Frog”
IV. The Structure of “The Jumping Frog”
V. The Theory of the Humorous Story
VI. Elements of the Humorous Story in “The Jumping Frog”
VII. Final Conclusion
Today Mark Twain or using his real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens is often seen as one of the most important authors of the American Realism. His Theory of the Humorous Story is one of the most important theories of writing a funny story.
Those are the questions to be answered. Based on interpretations of one of his most famous stories “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, Twain intensions will be shown. This means there will be shown what influenced Twain in his writings and which different interpretations of his works, in this case exemplary of “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, are possible. In the end there will have to be considered if the “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is really a humorous story in sense of Twain’s Theory of the Humorous Story or not.
Samuel Clemens was born on November 30th in the year 1835 in the village Florida in the state Missouri. He grew up in a town called Hannibal. There he received little formal education. In the year 1847 his father died and he had to support the family. So he worked for his brother Orion who became a publisher. In the year 1853 Mark Twain began a three-year travel period in which he went to St. Louis, New York and Philadelphia. In 1864 he started ti write for the Californian During the next years he established some important friendships with the writer Bret Harte and the professional lecturer Artemus Ward. In 1865 Mark Twain published his first popular story “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”. In 1870 he married Olivia Landon and moved to Hartford in the state Connecticut. In 1876 Mark Twain published “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and in 1882 “The Prince and the Pauper”. In the year 1884 his most famous work “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was published. In 1904 Twain’s wife died two years after two of his daughters had died. Because of these terrible circumstances Twain lost his optimistic tone in writing and wrote more somber works like “What is Man” in 1906 or “The Mysterious Stranger” which was published in 1916, six years after Twains death on April 21st 1910.
On 4th December 1864 Mark Twain traveled to Calaveras County in California. He stayed there until he went back to San Francisco on the 25th February 1865. There he spent very much time in a bar at Angel’s Camp. In this bar Twain met Ben Coon, who told him the story of the jumping frog. Twain liked the story and made an entry in his notebook. Back in San Francisco was asked by his friend Artemus Ward to write a short story for a volume of humorous sketches. Twain wanted to use his entry of this notebook to write a story about the jumping frog. Although he finished his writing too late for the inclusion in Ward’s sketch-volume. “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, often also “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” called, was first published in the New York Saturday Press on the 18th November 1865. Then it was again published in Twain’s first book of short stories “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches” in April 1867. First it was not very successful. In America it really didn’t sell well, but the there were big sales in the United Kingdom.
The story plays in the mining camp of Angel’s in Calaveras County in California. “The Jumping Frog” consists of one frame story with three stories within. The protagonist of the story is the “I”-narrator “[...] who can be identified with the fictional persona “Mark Twain”.”
 Artemus Ward was the pseudonym of Charles Farrar Browne.
 Messent, Peter. The Short Works of Mark Twain: A Critical Study. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania UP, 2001. 26.
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