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About The Gilded Age by Mark Twain

The Gilded Age is a novel by Mark Twain first published in 1873. It satirizes greed and political corruption in post–Civil War America in the era now referred to as the Gilded Age. Although not one of Twain's best-known works, it has appeared in more than one hundred editions since its original publication. Twain and Warner originally had planned to issue the novel with illustrations by Thomas Nast. The book is remarkable for two reasons–-it is the only novel Twain wrote with a collaborator, and its title very quickly became synonymous with graft, materialism, and corruption in public life. Plot Summary: 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."[citation needed] 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 the 75,000 acres (300 km2) of unimproved land acquired by their patriarch, Silas “Si” Hawkins, in a timely manner. After several adventures in Tennessee, the family fails to sell the land and Si Hawkins dies. The rest of the Hawkins story line focuses on their beautiful adopted daughter, Laura. In the early 1870s, she travels to Washington, D.C. to become a lobbyist. With a senator's help,
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