Description : Mark Twain, the “Father of American Literature,” and renowned humorist, satirist, and commentator on humanity and American life, is best known for his classic, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twain’s body of work, however, is expansive; from Adventures of Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court to the travelogue The Innocents Abroad and essays on human nature, religion, science, and literature, no aspect of life is left untouched by Twain. His portrayal of American life, ripe with the contradictions of America’s ideals and its actual practices, as well as his characters, at once fantastical and completely human, provide a window onto humanity and social life. As the third book in the Great Authors and Philosophy series, Mark Twain and Philosophy reveals deeper issues raised by Twain’s work and speaks to his continued relevance as a social commentator interrogating issues fundamental to our lives. From slavery, freedom, and human rights, to science, parapsychology, and religion, this book exposes how Twain’s body of work touches every corner of human experience.
Description : This was Twains most serious and private book. He kept it locked up, considered it to be his Bible, and spoke of it as such to friends. He had rewritten it many times before being satisfied, but still chose not to release it until after his death. It appears in the form of a dialogue between an old man and a young man who discuss who and what mankind really is. We consider ourselves as free and autonomous people, yet this book puts forth the ideas that 1) We are nothing more than machines and originate nothing not even a single thought; 2) All conduct arises from one motive self-satisfaction; 3) Our temperament is completely permanent and unchangeable; and 4) Man is of course a product of heredity, and our future, being fixed, is irrevocable -- which makes life completely predetermined. If these points are true, then buying and reading this book is not in your control, but simply must be done because it was meant to be. If these points are not true you can still make an independent decision to enjoy a great book by a legendary writer.
Description : Camfield then traces the cultural development of this ethical dialectic and follows Mark Twain's reactions to it, showing that Twain was a closet sentimentalist whose public attacks on sentimentalism veiled a deep longing for a more compassionate world.
Description : An anthology of wit and wisdom from one of the most universally revered American writers In his writing, Mark Twain had a distinctly American humor and was never shy to use it. In this collection of his mostly wise and sometimes controversial observations about the world he lived in, its people, and its ideas, readers can learn firsthand why he became one of the most popular and irreverent figures of his day. Drawing from his books, short stories, essays, sketches, and speeches, as well as from travel and autobiographical pieces, The Wisdom of Mark Twain demonstrates that his quick tongue and keen eye offered ideas—explicit and implicit, funny and entertaining, troubling and thought provoking—that remain relatable over one hundred years later.
Description : Warm, compassionate, beautifully written work offers unparalleled perceptions of celebrated humorist's faults, foibles, and personality, as well as insights into the spirit and style of his writing. Includes reviews of Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and other works. It is a "work of art and a work of genius." — Henry Steele Commager.
Description : “This volume on Twain is among the first in a series of critical appraisals of American authors, 'The Best from American Literature,' which reprints articles from the pages of that prestigious journal. . . . This amounts to a fascinating portrait of Samuel Clemens as author/performer/reformer/husband-man and public figure, thereby profiling the evolution of literary opinion and arbitration of an emerging canon. “Overall, this valuable entry in the process of recollecting our past scholarship amounts to a most useful overview of American literary study. More important, the Twain selections represent an acutely balanced chronology of a complex talent. This volume and those following should be invaluable additions to academic collections.”—Choice
Description : Mark Twain once claimed that he could read human character as well as he could read the Mississippi River, and he studied his fellow humans with the same devoted attention. In both his fiction and his nonfiction, he was disposed to dramatize how the human creature acts in a given environment—and to understand why. Now one of America’s preeminent Twain scholars takes a closer look at this icon’s abiding interest in his fellow creatures. In seeking to account for how Twain might have reasonably believed the things he said he believed, Tom Quirk has interwoven the author’s inner life with his writings to produce a meditation on how Twain’s understanding of human nature evolved and deepened, and to show that this was one of the central preoccupations of his life. Quirk charts the ways in which this humorist and occasional philosopher contemplated the subject of human nature from early adulthood until the end of his life, revealing how his outlook changed over the years. His travels, his readings in history and science, his political and social commitments, and his own pragmatic testing of human nature in his writing contributed to Twain’s mature view of his kind. Quirk establishes the social and scientific contexts that clarify Twain’s thinking, and he considers not only Twain’s stated intentions about his purposes in his published works but also his ad hoc remarks about the human condition. Viewing both major and minor works through the lens of Twain’s shifting attitude, Quirk provides refreshing new perspectives on the master’s oeuvre. He offers a detailed look at the travel writings, including The Innocents Abroad and Following the Equator, and the novels, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Pudd’nhead Wilson, as well as an important review of works from Twain’s last decade, including fantasies centering on man’s insignificance in Creation, works preoccupied with isolation—notably No. 44,The Mysterious Stranger and “Eve’s Diary”—and polemical writings such as What Is Man? Comprising the well-seasoned reflections of a mature scholar, this persuasive and eminently readable study comes to terms with the life-shaping ideas and attitudes of one of America’s best-loved writers. Mark Twain and Human Nature offers readers a better understanding of Twain’s intellect as it enriches our understanding of his craft and his ineluctable humor.
Description : The Jester and the Sages approaches the life and work of Mark Twain by placing him in conversation with three eminent philosophers of his time—Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Karl Marx. Unprecedented in Twain scholarship, this interdisciplinary analysis by Forrest G. Robinson, Gabriel Noah Brahm Jr., and Catherine Carlstroem rescues the American genius from his role as funny-man by exploring how his reflections on religion, politics, philosophy, morality, and social issues overlap the philosophers’ developed thoughts on these subjects. Remarkably, they had much in common. During their lifetimes, Twain, Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx witnessed massive upheavals in Western constructions of religion, morality, history, political economy, and human nature. The foundations of reality had been shaken, and one did not need to be a philosopher—nor did one even need to read philosophy—to weigh in on what this all might mean. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary materials, the authors show that Twain was well attuned to debates of the time. Unlike his Continental contemporaries, however, he was not as systematic in developing his views. Brahm and Robinson’s chapter on Nietzsche and Twain reveals their subjects’ common defiance of the moral and religious truisms of their time. Both desired freedom, resented the constraints of Christian civilization, and saw punishing guilt as the disease of modern man. Pervasive moral evasion and bland conformity were the principal end result, they believed. In addition to a continuing focus on guilt, Robinson discovers in his chapter on Freud and Twain that the two men shared a lifelong fascination with the mysteries of the human mind. From the formative influence of childhood and repression, to dreams and the unconscious, the mind could free people or keep them in perpetual chains. The realm of the unconscious was of special interest to both men as it pertained to the creation of art. In the final chapter, Carlstroem and Robinson explain that, despite significant differences in their views of human nature, history, and progress, Twain and Marx were both profoundly disturbed by economic and social injustice in the world. Of particular concern was the gulf that industrial capitalism opened between the privileged elite property owners and the vast class of property-less workers. Moralists impatient with conventional morality, Twain and Marx wanted to free ordinary people from the illusions that enslaved them. Twain did not know the work's of Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx well, yet many of his thoughts cross those of his philosophical contemporaries. By focusing on the deeper aspects of Twain’s intellectual makeup, Robinson, Brahm, and Carlstroem supplement the traditional appreciation of the forces that drove Twain’s creativity and the dynamics of his humor.
Description : The thirteen essays in this collection combine to offer a complex and deeply nuanced picture of Samuel Clemens. With the purpose of straying from the usual notions of Clemens (most notably the Clemens/Twain split that has ruled Twain scholarship for over thirty years), the editors have assembled contributions from a wide range of Twain scholars. As a whole, the collection argues that it is time we approach Clemens not as a shadow behind the literary persona but as a complex and intricate creator of stories, a creator who is deeply embedded in the political events of his time and who used a mix of literary, social, and personal experience to fuel the movements of his pen. The essays illuminate Clemens's connections with people and events not usually given the spotlight and introduce us to Clemens as a man deeply embroiled in the process of making literary gold out of everyday experiences. From Clemens's wonderings on race and identity to his looking to family and domesticity as defining experiences, from musings on the language that Clemens used so effectively to consideration of the images and processes of composition, these essays challenge long-held notions of why Clemens was so successful and so influential a writer. While that search itself is not new, the varied approaches within this collection highlight markedly inventive ways of reading the life and work of Samuel Clemens.