This article explores Mark Twain’s representations of Shakespeare in his 1601, Conversation. As it was by the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors (1876). Twain’s short risqué squib relates a fictional record of Queen Elizabeth I and her guests, including Shakespeare, recounting vulgar tales. Drawing upon “double-coded” theories of parody, this article argues that in 1601 Twain blends admiration with a sarcastic attitude toward Shakespeare. At the same time, he satirizes contemporary American hypocritical practices by paying homage to liberating bawdry. Twain utilizes lighthearted mockery of Elizabethan parlance and customs to make a historical allegory criticizing American hypocrisy and censorship on the one hand and integrating his American identity with European cultural heritage on the other.
KEYWORDS: Shakespeare, Mark Twain, parody, 1601, American identity, European heritage