The Mysterious Stranger

The Mysterious Stranger

by Mark Twain
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The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain

One of the demons Twain always set out to slay was the legend that the citizens of this republic are inherently more virtuous than others. He does so marvelously in this collection of classic tales.

The collection includes: "The Mysterious Stranger," "The Story of the Bad Little Boy," "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," "The Diary of Adam and Eve," "The Joke That Made Ed's Fortune," "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg," "Edward Mills and George Benton: A Tale," and "A Fable."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781976341908
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 09/17/2017
Pages: 126
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

MARK TWAIN was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835, the son of John Marshall Clemens, an avowed freethinker, and his wife, Jane, a believer and connoisseur of the occult. These two opposing forces—freethought and spiritualism—colored the young Twain's view of the world and would later serve as material for his books.

As a child, Twain knew both violence and tragedy. In the town of Hannibal, Missouri, where he lived from 1839 to 1853, shootings and attempted shootings were not unusual events. Twain's older brother Benjamin died when Twain was only six; a few months later, the family lost their home to debt. When Twain was twelve, his father died.

It was at this time that Twain left school to go to work in order to help his financially strapped family, first as a printer's apprentice and later as a journeyman printer; he was also a river pilot, a prospector, and a roving newspaper reporter. Twain's journalistic travels took him throughout the United States as well as to South America, Europe, and the Middle East, from where he sent back entertaining travel letters. While a reporter for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, he adopted the pen name Mark Twain. His scathing, observant articles began to earn him a wide and loyal readership. Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain made his readers, and later his listeners during his lecture tours, familiar with his life: skill­fully blending the real and the fictional, he created the char­acter of Mark Twain whom Americans—and the world—recognized and loved in his many books, including The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches (1867); Innocents Abroad (1869); Roughing It (1872); The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876); and his masterpiece, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884).

Eulogized by William Dean Howells as "the Lincoln of our literature," Twain achieved great fame from his writing and earned a fortune. He lost this, however, following his involvement in a failed publishing house venture; thereafter, Twain lectured to clear his debts. The final two decades of Twain's life were marked, as were his first years, by a series of tragedies: during these years he lost in quick succession his beloved wife, Livy; a favorite nephew; his daughters Susy and Jean; and his sister, Pamela. Twain had toyed with the idea that life is a dream and that human emotions and expe­riences are delusions. His work at this time reflects his grow­ing gloominess, pessimism, and contempt for organized reli­gion: Extracts from Adam's Diary (1904) and Eve's Diary (1906) satirized Scripture; Christian Science (1907) ridiculed Mark Baker Eddy's new religion. This is the period, too, of Twain's vitriolic Letters from the Earth (1906; first published in 1962) and The Mysterious Stranger, several versions of which were written during 1905-06 and which was posthu­mously published in 1916. Here Twain denies the existence of a benign Providence, a soul, or an afterlife. Indeed, reality itself is taken away as the Stranger in this antireligious tale—the angel-boy, Satan—asserts that "nothing exists; all is a dream." This and the other works of Twain's last years belie that popular image of the easy, affable American humorist; they reveal instead a man engaged in an often tortuous strug­gle to discover what life is and what meaning, if any, it holds.

Mark Twain died in Redding, Connecticut, on April 21, 1910.

Date of Birth:

November 30, 1835

Date of Death:

April 21, 1910

Place of Birth:

Florida, Missouri

Place of Death:

Redding, Connecticut

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The Mysterious Stranger 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Lorsine More than 1 year ago
The Mysterious Stranger is one of Mark Twain¿s better works¿not as lengthy as Tom Sawyer, and not as boring as Huckleberry Finn. Time will not be wasted if you choose to read this story, especially since it is about 100 pages in a book format.

With a direct allusion to Satan, Twain emphasizes the negativity of humans. This emphasis makes us think about ourselves and wonder if we really are that selfish. The boys who mindlessly allow Satan to brainwash them show the naivety of children as well as our selfishness.

At the same time, because Satan stresses that he is from Heaven and not Hell, Twain shows his pessimistic view of Christianity in general. He makes us wonder if God is actually someone worthwhile to follow (speaking from a Buddhist perspective).

It is entertaining and engaging¿I could not put it down once I started. Even the mere conversations between Satan and the boys seem to hold significant meaning to the story; it is a good story to ponder about.

This short story is supposedly unfinished, but it seems to end quite well. If you want a quick insight into Twain¿s views, the Mysterious Stranger is the way to go.
Christine Hale More than 1 year ago
It is a short book, a quick read, but very good! I highly recommend it.
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dmh5026 More than 1 year ago
My headline says it all. There's only so much sarcasm I can take -- and these 186 pages were about all I could handle. Not my favorite.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
scanned version is unreadable