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The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories Mass Market Paperback – Oct 2 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (Oct. 2 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451532201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451532206
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 141 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #627,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, in 1835, and died in Redding, Connecticut, in 1910. In his person and in his pursuits, he was a man of extraordinary contrasts. Although he left school at twelve, when his father died, he was eventually awarded honorary degrees from Yale University, the University of Missouri, and Oxford University. His career encompassed such varied occupations as printer, Mississippi riverboat pilot, journalist, travel writer, and publisher. He made fortunes from his writing, but toward the end of his life he had to resort to lecture tours to pay his debts. He was hot-tempered, profane, and sentimental—and also pessimistic, cynical, and tortured by self-doubt. He lives in American letters as a great artist, the writer whom William Dean Howells called “the Lincoln of our literature.”

Jeffrey L. Nichols has been Executive Director of the Mark Twain House & Museum since 2007. He joined the museum in 2001 after having served as Director of Education and Visitor Services for the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Mr. Nichols serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Milford Historical Society in Milford, Connecticut, and the Board of Directors of the New Haven Museum. He has served as a board member and Speakers Chair for the Connecticut League of History Organizations. Mr. Nichols is a graduate of the Bank Street College of Education in New York City, where he earned an M.S. degree in Museum Education. He received a B.A. in History and Education from Southern Connecticut State University, and an M.B.A. from the University of New Haven.

Howard Mittelmark is a writer, editor and book critic living in New York. He is co-author of How Not to Write a Novel.


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have taught this book at the college level for a few years now; it definitely sheds Twain's unfortunate Americana image, and it reveals the darker genius of this "beloved" author. Twain's greatest work, The Mysterious Stranger will enrage fundamentalist Christians, several of whom have dropped my course because of this novella. Asking people to think about what is real, what is behind existence, though, is no crime and should be inoffensive. Young people who are harmed by systematic thinking will react to this book like people being deprogrammed from a cult: they will hate it. But Twain, who was in anguish when he wrote this, had the honesty to ask difficult questions. Read The Mysterious Stranger as a guide to Twain's futuristic thinking, his tribute to the mind above all other things.
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Format: Paperback
Mark Twain, in his advancing years, no longer relied solely on telling tales about adventuresome lads paddling down streaming rivers. Instead, he spent his efforts examining parts of life that were, and remain to be, sacrosanct to society. Politics, wealth and religion were his primary targets.

In the short story called "The Mysterious Stranger" he challenges fundamentalists from all eras to examine the tenets which form their belief system. In a simple dialogue between a young boy and Satan, he lays bare the faith to which we, as a Christian-reared culture, have been led to not only believe but to vigorously defend against unbelievers and even on the death-strewn battlefield. In the end, Twain reveals that he, himself is an atheist and, being so will have none of the fairy tales that society puts forth!

The worth of this book lies not in Twain's proselytization of us towards his form of unbelief. Rather, it is in the opportunity he presents to truly examine what we do have faith in, to discard the inane, and to repackage a belief system that is based on truth and reality rather than based on poems and illusions. Those of us who are unable to do this and adamantly hold onto that which we have inherited are the true losers of this challenge. For they, like our boyish hero, will be left breathless when, and if, the actual truth is eventually revealed.
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Format: Paperback
this volume spans the length of Mark Twain's career, and contains some of his most famous shorter works, which all centre on the subject of Money. 'The Celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County' is the most perfect tall tale in the English language, three flawless pages about Jim Smiley and the bizarre sidelines he would investigate to win a bet, any bet, written in a miraculous mid-19th century California vernacular. If that isn't enough, Twain tops it with the best closing paragraph of any work I have ever read ever.
'The $1,000,000 Bank note' is almost surreal, or Marxist, the story of a derelict made an unwitting guinea pig by two elderly millionaires, curious to see what would happen to an honest but poor man in the possession of such an impractible note. The frightening fetishistic power of currency structures a somewhat creepily benevolent narrative, and the opening paragraphs audaciously cram a novel's worth of misfortune.
'The Man who corrupted Hadleyburg' is the masterpiece here, at once an unforgiving morality tale about the temptation of money on an incorruptible town, and a satire on the crippling effect of bogus social respectability. Twain's irony is at its most relentless here, mixing anger at elite hypocrisy with distaste for the savage mob mentality. The scenes of public justice are hilarious but terrifying; the unnamed man taking monstrous revenge on a whole town for a personal slight, exposing its shams by an experiment, could well be Twain himself.
The same could be said of the hero of his novella 'The Mysterious Stranger', Twain's last, posthumously published work.
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By A Customer on March 18 1999
Format: Paperback
I, having read Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, picked up "No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger" expecting yet another light-hearted romp.
I got a masterpiece instead.
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