Letters from the Earth

Letters from the Earth

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“The most impressive contribution to books by Mark Twain since The Mysterious Stranger of 1916…The attitude is that of Swift, the intellectual contempt is that of Voltaire, and the imagination is that of one of the great masters of American writing.”—New York Times Book Review

Virtually none of the material in Letters from the Earth was published in Twain’s lifetime and the manuscript was only approved by his executors in 1962. This is vintage Twain—sharp, witty, imaginative, wildly funny. His voice is as vigorous and blistering as ever, capable of surprising truth and provoking laughter in the most unlikely places. 

In this collection, he presents himself as the Father of History, reviewing and interpreting events from the garden of Eden through the Fall and the Flood, translating the papers of Adam and his descendants down through the generations. There are comments on James Fenimore Cooper, English architecture, and the civilization of the French, as well as proposals for a simplified alphabet and a parody of books on etiquette. Letters from the Earth an exuberantly eclectic collection.

"I have told you nothing about man that is not true." You must pardon me if I repeat that remark now and then in these letters; I want you to take seriously the things I am telling you, and I feel that if I were in your place and you in mine, I should need that reminder from time to time, to keep my credulity from flagging.

In Letters from the Earth, Twain presents himself as the Father of History — reviewing and interpreting events from the Garden of Eden through the Fall and the Flood, translating the papers of Adam and his descendants through the generations. First published fifty years after his death, this eclectic collection is vintage Twain: sharp, witty, imaginative, complex, and wildly funny.

“The most impressive contribution to books by Mark Twain since The Mysterious Stranger of 1916…The attitude is that of Swift, the intellectual contempt is that of Voltaire, and the imagination is that of one of the great masters of American writing.” “Twain at his best. The high point of the book is the title section, which presents a series of letters supposedly written by Satan, reporting on a visit to the ‘Human-Race experiment….Here Twain takes some of man’s most revered beliefs and demonstrates their downright preposterousness when examined in a cold light. He is iconoclastic, and not gentle in his idol breaking. But reading the letters should be stimulating to anyone interested in looking at the world around him objectively and a delightful experience to anyone with a sense of humor.” “Twain sentimentalists will gasp, Bible-belters will turn purple, austere stylistic purists will raise eyebrows–but dyied-in-the-wool Twain enthusiasts will grab hungrily for what amounts to a new volume by the ‘Lincoln of our literature.’…The pages in this volume range from furious to funny, from deadly earnestness to frothy word-play.”

Additional information

Weight 9 oz
Dimensions 1 × 5 × 8 cm