Abstract

Through the lens of the Global War on Terror Mark Twain reemerges as an ideal American antiwar icon, and although his most scathing indictment of war fervor, “The War Prayer” (1905), was published posthumously, the text now bolsters the antiwar movement as seen on the Internet, in social media, and in independent films that demonstrate effective political appropriation of Twain's work. These include Markos Kounalakis's animated short (2006), the Lyceum Films adaptation (2007), and the Blasko Films production (2003). While there is a clear historical context for “The War Prayer,” as Jim Zwick explained, there is a lack of historical specificity within the text that readily permits adaptation to other moments of fervid, religious patriotism in the name of war. More than mere dramatization, the article emphasizes aesthetic choices and Judith Yaross Lee's visual vernacular, particularly in Kounalakis's animation. The appropriation of Twain's cultural authority in these films has cemented his “legacy of dissent.”

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