Synopses & Reviews
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut
The Stolen White Elephant
The £1,000,000 Bank-Note
The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg
The Five Boons of Life
Was It Heaven? Or Hell?
The Mysterious Stranger
The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories unites nine of master American humorist Mark Twain’s most accomplished works. From tall tales of con men’s tricks, such as the classic that brought him instant fame, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” to a man with no money (other than a £1,000,000 banknote that no one can cash), to an exposé of greed and hypocrisy in perhaps his greatest short story, “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” Twain showcases his notorious humor—skewering policemen, clergymen, politicians, bankers, and others—and displays his changing attitude toward human nature. The finale is the novella The Mysterious Stranger, a rarity for Mark Twain in which he turns his sardonic, freewheeling wit on eternal evil in a distant time and place—and conjures a memorable, tormenting conclusion.
“There was never anybody like him; there never will be.”—William Dean Howells
In 1867, Mark Twain set out from New York City for Europe and the Holy Land on the paddle-steamer Quaker City. The result of that trip was The Innocents Abroad, a travel book unlike any that had gone before it. Irreverent and irrepressible, Twain pokes fun at officious tour guides and
offensive tourists alike. The book offers a glimpse of a major writer when he was young and just beginning to flex his muscles, and also serves as an enduring no-nonsense guide for the first-time traveler to Europe and the Holy Land. The trip stimulates Twain to meditate on how the new world is
different from the old and engenders reflections on what a society must be like to be thought of as genuinely civilized. The Innocents Abroad is alternately profound and profoundly entertaining. Twain may find himself exasperated or exhausted--but the story he tells is never dull. It is no
wonder that the book was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
One of the most famous travel books ever written by an American, The Innocents Abroad is Mark Twain s irreverent and incisive commentary on nineteenth century Americans encountering the Old World. Come along for the ride as Twain and his unsuspecting travel companions visit the Azores, Tangiers, Paris, Rome, the Vatican, Genoa, Gibraltar, Odessa, Constantinople, Cairo, the Holy Land and other locales renowned in history. No person or place is safe from Twain s sharp wit as it impales both the conservative and the liberal, the Old World and the New. He uses these contrasts to find out who we as Americans are, notes Leslie A. Fiedler. But his travelogue demonstrates that, in our attempt to understand ourselves, we must first find out what we are not.
With an Introduction Michael Meyer and an Afterword by Leslie A. Fiedler"
One of the most famous travel books ever written by an American, here is an irreverent and incisive commentary on the "New Barbarians'" encounter with the Old World. Twain's hilarious satire impales with sharp wit both the chauvinist and the cosmopolitan.
This book offers a glimpse of a major writer when he was and just beginning to flex his muscles, and also serves as an enduring no-nonsense guide for the first-time traveler of Europe and the Holy Land.
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
Take a lighthearted, nostalgic trip to a simpler time, seen through the eyes of a very special boy named Tom Sawyer. It is a dreamlike summertime world of hooky and adventure, pranks and punishment, villains and first love, filled with memorable characters. Adults and young readers alike continue to enjoy this delightful classic of the promise and dreams of youth from one of Americas most beloved authors.
ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
He has no mother, his father is a brutal drunkard, and he sleeps in a barrel. Hes Huck Finnliar, sometime thief, and rebel against respectability. But when Huck meets a runaway slave named Jim, his life changes forever. On their exciting flight down the Mississippi aboard a raft, the boy nobody wanted matures into a young man of courage and conviction. As Ernest Hemingway said of this glorious novel, All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.”
With an Introduction by Shelley Fisher Fishkin
and a New Afterword
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court
Cracked on the head by a crowbar in nineteenth-century Connecticut, Hank Morgan wakes to find himself in King Arthurs England, facing a world whose idyllic surface masks fear, injustice, and ignorance. In this acclaimed tour de force, Mark Twain moves from broad comedy to biting social satire, from the pure joy of wild high jinks to deeply probing insights into the nature of man. Considered by H. L. Mencken to be the most bitter critic of American platitude and delusion
that ever lived,” Twain enchants readers with a Camelot that strikes disturbingly contemporary notes.
With an introduction by Leland Krauth
And an afterword by Edmund Reiss
For nearly two decades before Mark Twain published his finest novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he was refining his craft and winning tremendous popularity with his short stories and sketches. This richly entertaining and comprehensive collection presents sixty-five of the very best of Mark Twain’s short pieces, from the classic frontier sketch “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” to the richly imaginative fable “Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven.” Compiled by Pulitzer Prize–winning Twain scholar and biographer, Justin Kaplan, this collection represents some of Mark Twain’s wittiest and most insightful writing.
About the Author
In his person and in his pursuits, Mark Twain
(1835-1910) 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 sentimentaland also pessimistic, cynical, and tortured by self-doubt. His nostalgia for the past helped produce some of his best books. He lives in American letters as a great artist, the writer whom William Dean Howells called the Lincoln of our literature.”
Michael Meyer, Ph.D., professor emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut, is a former president of the Thoreau Society and the coauthor of The New Thoreau Handbook, a standard reference. His first book, Several More Lives to Live: Thoreaus Political Reputation in America, was awarded the Ralph henry Gabriel Prize by the American Studies Association. In addition to The Bedford Introduction to Literature, his edited volumes include Frederick Douglas: The Narrative and Selected Writings.
Leslie A. Fielder (1917-2003) was a longtime professor of English at Montana State University and then the Samuel Langhorne Clemens Professor of Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He was the author of four novels, as well as many influential works of criticism including Life and Death in the American Novel and What Was Literature? Class Culture and Mass Society. Among his many awards is the Modern Language Associations Hubbell Medal for lifetime contribution to the study of American literature.