We Pine for Murder: Mark Twain’s Nevada Newspaper Hoaxes

Mark Twain’s eighteen months as a reporter for the Virginia City, Nevada Territorial-Enterprise (1862-64) were marked by a series of hoaxes that tested even Nevada frontier journalism’s loose standards for accuracy. They end in a complicated, double-barreled hoax with racist overtones and a quick escape to San Francisco. Close study of these hoaxes in their progression reveals Twain at work on multiple narrative frames, twained voices, and meta-plots — the stuff of his later fiction.

Andrew L. Giarelli, Ph.D., teaches journalism and literature at Anglo-American University, Prague. He is also a visiting lecturer in the Comparative Literature Institute of the University of Vienna and a former senior Fulbright lecturer in American Studies at Comenius University, Bratislava, and the University of Malta, Valletta.

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