Christian Science

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Overview

About the Author

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or Mark Twain, as he was better known was born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri, the sixth child of John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens. His father ran a dry goods and grocery store, practiced law and involved himself in local politics after the family's move to Hannibal, Missouri, when Sam was four years old.

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Christian Science (Barnes & Noble Digital Library)

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Overview

About the Author

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or Mark Twain, as he was better known was born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri, the sixth child of John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens. His father ran a dry goods and grocery store, practiced law and involved himself in local politics after the family's move to Hannibal, Missouri, when Sam was four years old.

Hannibal seems to have been a good place for a boy to grow up. Sam was entranced by the Mississippi River and enjoyed both the barges and the people who traveled on them. When Sam was just eleven his father died and Sam went to work for his brother at the Hannibal Journal first as a printer's apprentice and later a compositor. While still in his teens Sam went on the road as an itinerant printer. In 1857 he conceived a plan to seek his fortune in South America but on the way he met a steamboat captain, Horace Bixby who took him on as a cub riverboat pilot and taught him until he acquired his own license.

This enjoyable style of life, which Twain always spoke of later with special warmth was ended by the Civil War. Twain went west with his brother Orion to prospect in Nevada but in 1862 joined the staff of the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, a paper to which he had already begun submitting his work. Later Twain went to California and submitted "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" to the New York Saturday Press.

By 1871 Twain had published Innocents Abroad and had married Olivia Langdon, the sister of a friend from a socially prominent New York City family. He and his wife moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where they made their family home for thenext 20 years.

Books that he wrote in Hartford confirmed his popular reputation but despite their success Twain found himself in financial difficulty primarily because of his investments in the Paige typesetting business as well as his own publishing company. Eventually Twain was forced to declare bankruptcy.

Twain's last major books were successful commercially but they also reflect his increasing pessimism. His satire becomes at times more biting and mean-spirited than it is humorous. Despite the downturn in Twain's outlook in later life and despite the unevenness of much of his work, he remains one of the major writers of the American nineteenth century, and one who has been enormously influential on subsequent writers.

This book is a part of The Collected Works of Mark Twain -- a set of twenty-one books available from Barnes & Noble World Digital Library.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781484004180
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Pages: 178
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Twain (1835–1910), born Samuel Clemens, is said to be America’s greatest humorist. William Faulkner called him the father of American literature. Ernest Hemmingway added, “all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain.” He was referring to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Biography

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri; his family moved to the port town of Hannibal four years later. His father, an unsuccessful farmer, died when Twain was eleven. Soon afterward the boy began working as an apprentice printer, and by age sixteen he was writing newspaper sketches. He left Hannibal at eighteen to work as an itinerant printer in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. From 1857 to 1861 he worked on Mississippi steamboats, advancing from cub pilot to licensed pilot.

After river shipping was interrupted by the Civil War, Twain headed west with his brother Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the Nevada Territory. Settling in Carson City, he tried his luck at prospecting and wrote humorous pieces for a range of newspapers. Around this time he first began using the pseudonym Mark Twain, derived from a riverboat term. Relocating to San Francisco, he became a regular newspaper correspondent and a contributor to the literary magazine the Golden Era. He made a five-month journey to Hawaii in 1866 and the following year traveled to Europe to report on the first organized tourist cruise. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (1867) consolidated his growing reputation as humorist and lecturer.

After his marriage to Livy Langdon, Twain settled first in Buffalo, New York, and then for two decades in Hartford, Connecticut. His European sketches were expanded into The Innocents Abroad (1869), followed by Roughing It (1872), an account of his Western adventures; both were enormously successful. Twain's literary triumphs were offset by often ill-advised business dealings (he sank thousands of dollars, for instance, in a failed attempt to develop a new kind of typesetting machine, and thousands more into his own ultimately unsuccessful publishing house) and unrestrained spending that left him in frequent financial difficulty, a pattern that was to persist throughout his life.

Following The Gilded Age (1873), written in collaboration with Charles Dudley Warner, Twain began a literary exploration of his childhood memories of the Mississippi, resulting in a trio of masterpieces --The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and finally The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), on which he had been working for nearly a decade. Another vein, of historical romance, found expression in The Prince and the Pauper (1882), the satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), while he continued to draw on his travel experiences in A Tramp Abroad (1880) and Following the Equator (1897). His close associates in these years included William Dean Howells, Bret Harte, and George Washington Cable, as well as the dying Ulysses S. Grant, whom Twain encouraged to complete his memoirs, published by Twain's publishing company in 1885.

For most of the 1890s Twain lived in Europe, as his life took a darker turn with the death of his daughter Susy in 1896 and the worsening illness of his daughter Jean. The tone of Twain's writing also turned progressively more bitter. The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894), a detective story hinging on the consequences of slavery, was followed by powerful anti-imperialist and anticolonial statements such as 'To the Person Sitting in Darkness' (1901), 'The War Prayer' (1905), and 'King Leopold's Soliloquy' (1905), and by the pessimistic sketches collected in the privately published What Is Man? (1906). The unfinished novel The Mysterious Stranger was perhaps the most uncompromisingly dark of all Twain's later works. In his last years, his financial troubles finally resolved, Twain settled near Redding, Connecticut, and died in his mansion, Stormfield, on April 21, 1910.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Samuel Langhorne Clemens (real name); Sieur Louis de Conte
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1835
    2. Place of Birth:
      Florida, Missouri
    1. Date of Death:
      April 21, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Redding, Connecticut

Read an Excerpt

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

"It is the first time since the dawn-days of Creation that a Voice has gone crashing through, space with such placid and complacent confidence and command."

CHAPTER I

VIENNA; 1899


THIS last summer, when I was on my way back to Vienna from the Appetite-Cure in the mountains. I fell over a cliff in the twilight and broke some arms and legs and one thing or another, and by good luck was found by some peasants who had lost an ass, and they carried me to the nearest habitation, which was one of those large, low, thatch-roofed farm-houses, with apartments in the garret for the family, and a cunning little porch under the deep gable decorated with boxes of bright colored flowers and cats; on the ground-floor a large and light sitting-room, separated from the milch-cattle apartment by a partition; and in the front yard rose stately and fine the wealth and pride of the house, the manurepile. That sentence is Germanic, and shows that I am acquiring that sort of mastery of the art and spirit of the language which enables a man to travel all day in one sentence without changing cars.

There was a village a mile away, and a horse-doctor lived there, but there was no surgeon. It seemed a bad outlook, mine was distinctly a surgery case. Then it was remembered that a lady from Boston was summering in that village; and she was a Christian Science doctor and could cure anything. So she was sent for. It was night by this time, and she could not conveniently come, but sent word that it was no matter, there was no hurry, she would give me "absent treatment" now, and come in the morning; meantime she begged me to make myself tranquil and comfortable and remember that there was nothing the matter with me. I thought there must be some mistake.

"Did you tell her I walked off a cliff seventy five feet high?"

"Yes."

"And struck a boulder at the bottom and bounced?"

"Yes."

"And struck another one and bounced again?"

"Yes."

"And struck another one and bounced yet again?"

"Yes."

"And broke the boulders?"

"Yes."

'"That accounts for it; she is thinking of the boulders. Why didn't you tell her I got hurt too?"

"I did. I told her what you told me to tell her: that you were now but an incoherent series of compound fractures extending from your scalp-lock to your heels, and that the comminuted projections caused you to look like a hat-rack."

"And it was after this that she wished me to remember that there was nothing the matter with me?"

"Those were her words."

"I do not understand it, I believe she has not diagnosed the case with sufficient care. Did she look like a person who was theorizing, or did she look like one who has fallen off precipices herself and brings to the aid of abstract science the confirmations of personal experience?"

"Bitte?"

It was too large a contract for the Stubenmadchen's vocabulary; she couldn't call the hand. I allowed the subject to rest there, and asked for something to eat and smoke, and something hot to drink, and a basket to pile my legs in; but I could not have any of these things.

"Why?"

"She said you would need nothing at all."

"But I am hungry and thirsty, and in desperate pain."

"She said you would have these delusions, but must pay no attention to them. She wants you to particularly remember that there are no such things as hunger and thirst and pain."

"She does, does she?"

"It is what she said."

"Does she seem to be in full and functionable possession of her intellectual plant, such as it is?"

"Bitte?"

"Do they let her run at large, or do they tie her up?"

"Tie her up?"

"There, good-night, run along you are a good girl, but your mental Geschirr is not arranged for light and airy conversation. Leave me to my delusions.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2004

    Christian Science

    This book was a big dissapointment. It was extremely repetitive. All the information and commentary could have easily been condensed to 50 pages. As a result, I found it to be a very boring read. The main body of the book is nothing more than Twain bashing the religion and its founder, which it seems was fueled by personal tragedies in Twains life. It was very pessimistic and one-sided. However, I found Appendix D to be very insightful. It conveys a deeply spiritual side of Twain. I found his thoughts on prayer to be deeply moving, and this was the only reason I gave it three stars.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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