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. At the time this work was written, Twain had suffered a series of painful physical, economic, and emotional losses. In this antireligious tale, he denies the existence of a benign Providence, a soul, an afterlife, and even reality itself. As the Stranger in the story asserts, “nothing exists; all is a dream.”
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