The Bible According to Mark Twain
Writings on Heaven, Eden, and the FloodBook - 1995
This volume collects the most important writings by Mark Twain in which he used biblical settings, themes and figures. Featuring Twain's singular portrayals of God, Adam, Eve, Satan, Methuselah, Shem, St. Peter and others, the writings stand among Twain's imaginative expressions of his views on human nature and humankind's relation to the Creator and the universe. Composed over four decades (1871-1910), the writings range from farce to fantasy to satire, each one bearing the mark of Twain's unmistakable wit and insights. Among the many delights in store for readers are Adam and Eve's divergent accounts of their domestic troubles; Methuselah's discussion of an ancient version of baseball, complete with a parody of baseball jargon; Shem's hand-wringing account of how material shortages and labour troubles were hampering the progress of the ark his father, Noah, was building; a description of the disruptive actions of the fire-and-brimstone evangelist Sam Jones upon arriving in heaven; Captain Stormfield's revelations of what heaven is really like; Satan's musings on our puerile concepts of the afterlife; and Twain's advice on how to dress and tip properly in heaven. Twain's humour, however, is never gratuitous. As readers laugh their way through this volume, they will find ample evidence of Twain's concerns about scriptural fallacies and inconsistencies, the Bible's rather flat portrayal of important characters, and our limited notions about the nature and meaning of our own - and God's - existence. Many of the pieces in this collection, even the most lighthearted, might still be considered controversial; of some of the darker pieces, Twain himself acknowledged that they would be heretical in any age. Moreover, these writings are valuable cultural artifacts of a time when, across the Western world, fundamental religious beliefs were being called into question by the precepts of Darwinism and the rapid advances of science and technology. Several of this volume's selections are previously unpublished; others, like ""Letters from the Earth"", are classics. Virtually all have been edited to reflect as closely as possible Twain's final intentions for their form and content. For serious Twain devotees, editors Howard G. Baetzhold and Joseph B. McCullough have supplied background material on the writings, including details on the history of their composition, publication and relevance to the Twain canon.
Publisher: Athens : University of Georgia Press, c1995
Branch Call Number: 818.402 TWAIN
Characteristics: xxiv, 384 p. ; 25 cm