This article reveals how Mark Twain's unfinished novel Tom Sawyer's Conspiracy offers a searing critique of how late nineteenth-century American politics were dangerously intertwined with the logic of popular entertainment. Critics have generally counted this fragment among pieces like Tom Sawyer, Detective or “Huck and Tom among the Indians” as generic example of one of Twain's “boy stories,” more interested in nostalgia than satire. But a case can be made that Tom Sawyer's Conspiracy as much belongs with works like Puddn'head Wilson and The Mysterious Stranger as part of a broader assessment of turn-of-the century modernity that Twain developed through his later years.

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