Mark Twain

The Mysterious Stranger

The Mysterious Stranger, published posthumously in 1916 and belonging to Twain's “dark” period, belies the popular image of the affable American humorist. In this anti-religious tale, Twain denies the existence of a benign Providence, a soul, an after-life, and even reality itself.
147 printed pages

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Impressions

    Francisco Samourshared an impression7 months ago
    👍Worth reading
    🔮Hidden Depths
    💡Learnt A Lot
    🎯Worthwhile
    💞Loved Up

    Mark Twain tells a story that reflects the pain he felt during his old age in light of past experiences like the death of two daughters and a son.
    It is a dark and gloomy tale that makes it clear that Mark Twain didn't have much hope for the future of the human race.

    Aroldo Escobarshared an impression6 years ago
    🎯Worthwhile

    Great!

Quotes

    Natalya Shumitskayahas quoted2 years ago
    Every man is a suffering-machine and a happiness-machine combined. The two functions work together harmoniously, with a fine and delicate precision, on the give-and-take principle. For every happiness turned out in the one department the other stands ready to modify it with a sorrow or a pain—maybe a dozen. In most cases the man’s life is about equally divided between happiness and unhappiness. When this is not the case the unhappiness predominates—always; never the other.
    b5825192143has quoted7 months ago
    “I am perishing already—I am failing—I am passing away. In a little while you will be alone in shoreless space, to wander its limitless solitudes without friend or comrade forever—for you will remain a thought, the only existent thought, and by your nature inextinguishable, indestructible. But I, your poor servant, have revealed you to yourself and set you free. Dream other dreams, and better!
    b5825192143has quoted7 months ago
    “And what does it amount to?” said Satan, with his evil chuckle. “Nothing at all. You gain nothing; you always come out where you went in. For a million years the race has gone on monotonously propagating itself and monotonously reperforming this dull nonsense—to what end? No wisdom can guess! Who gets a profit out of it? Nobody but a parcel of usurping little monarchs and nobilities who despise you; would feel defiled if you touched them; would shut the door in your face if you proposed to call; whom you slave for, fight for, die for, and are not ashamed of it, but proud; whose existence is a perpetual insult to you and you are afraid to resent it; who are mendicants supported by your alms, yet assume toward you the airs of benefactor toward beggar; who address you in the language of master to slave, and are answered in the language of slave to master; who are worshiped by you with your mouth, while in your heart—if you have one—you despise yourselves for it. The first man was a hypocrite and a coward, qualities which have not yet failed in his line; it is the foundation upon which all civilizations have been built. Drink to their perpetuation! Drink to their augmentation! Drink to—” Then he saw by our faces how much we were hurt, and he cut his sentence short and stopped chuckling, and his manner changed. He said, gently: “No, we will drink one another’s health, and let civilization go. The wine which has flown to our hands out of space by desire is earthly, and good enough for that other toast; but throw away the glasses; we will drink this one in wine which has not visited this world before.”

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