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The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

The Innocents Abroad (1869)

by Mark Twain

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MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,345312,682 (3.84)126
  1. 30
    A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain (Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: Both have equivalent high-doses of hyperbole, sarcasm, irreverence.
  2. 20
    Roughing It by Mark Twain (hathaway_library)
  3. 10
    The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Tongue-in-cheek perspectives on the Near East in the form of travelogue.
  4. 10
    When the Going Was Good by Evelyn Waugh (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: The keen observations and satirical humor are similar.
  5. 10
    Mark Twain: A Life by Ron Powers (John_Vaughan)
  6. 10
    Following The Equator: A Journey Around the World by Mark Twain (John_Vaughan)

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English (29)  Spanish (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Hilarious account of Twain's 19th century excursion to parts of Europe, the Mediterranean region and the Holy Land. His purposes for this trip may have been noble, for as he says “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” I'm not sure how charitable he became, with constant remarks like “In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.” However it is amusing to see how his remarkable wit makes quick work of the charlatans and dubious stories about holy relics that he encounters along the way. And he also pokes fun at himself and all fellow travelers, saying "the gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become, until he goes abroad."
At the end, he has this to say "Human nature appears to be just the same, all over the world." I recommend this to anyone seeking a humorous escape, and it is especially appropriate for anyone on a trip. ( )
  debs4jc | Nov 13, 2015 |
I came across this book after researching Twain's quote about Michaelangelo (complaining that everything in Italy was designed, built, painted, sculpted or otherwise originated from Michaelangelo). I then found that the route taken by Twain on his travels in 1867 coincided with many of the destinations of my own travels this year, so I decided to read the whole book.
And "whole book" is the nub of it - almost 700 pages long! While I skipped through some parts, I was taken in by the content and Twains playful sense of humour.
I was surprised to find that Twain was only 32 when he made the trip (funded by a newspaper) and 34 when the book came out. This was very early in his career - he had only one other book published at this stage.
But, in spite of youth, Twain writes with a confidence in his views that I found surprising, and refreshing. He lets rip into the church -for example, about how many pieces of the "true cross" are held as priceless relics in churches in Europe. While part of this is a Protestant versus Catholic thing, it stands out against the timidity of English writing in the Victorian era. Thomas Hardy gave up writing novels after the prudes savaged him for such misdemeanours as having a so-called fallen woman as a leading character.
All in all, I found the book a very pleasant surprise and enjoyed plowing through (most of) the 696 pages.
Read as ebook October 2015. ( )
  mbmackay | Oct 29, 2015 |
LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. ( )
  anitatally | Feb 3, 2015 |
This book could be described as a wonderful guided tour of another time and place, and place, and place -- In 1867, Mark Twain joined a cruise of American tourists to France, Italy, and other exotic locales, culminating in an extended visit to Palestine. The cruise lasted for several months, and Twain reported on his progress in a series of newspaper columns sent back home. This book is based on those articles, was very, very, popular in his lifetime. Now, it is less familiar than his novels, but it remains a delight -- and a very funny delight. Twain's voice -- skeptical, secular, and sarcastic -- comes through loud and clear, in particular when he is describing his own countrymen. It is a voice of its own time, which means that some of his views would be extremely offensive were they expressed today. But imposing current day standards on the writings of the the past is a good way to miss a lot. This book is one that should not be missed. ( )
  annbury | Apr 19, 2014 |
A free audiobook is available from https://librivox.org/ ( )
  captbirdseye | Mar 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
The idea of a steamer-load of Americans going on a prolonged picnic to Europe and the Holy Land is itself almost sufficiently delightful, and it is perhaps praise enough for the author to add that it suffers nothing from his handling. If one considers the fun of making a volume of six hundred octavo pages upon this subject, in compliance with one of the main conditions of a subscription book's success, bigness namely, one has a tolerably fair piece of humor, without troubling Mr. Clements further. It is out of the bounty and abundance of his own nature that he is as amusing in the execution as in the conception of his work. And it is always good-humored humor, too, that he lavishes on his reader, and even in its impudence it is charming; we do not remember where it is indulged at the cost of the weak or helpless side, or where it is insolent, with all its sauciness and irreverence.

» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Twainprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cardwell, Guysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fiedler, Leslie A.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For months the great Pleasure Excursion to Europe and Holy Land was chatted about in the newspapers everywhere in America, and discussed at countless firesides.
The guides deceive and defraud every American who goes to Paris for the first time and sees its sights alone or in company with others as little experienced as himself. I shall visit Paris again some day, and then let the guides beware! I shall go in my war-paint - I shall carry my tomahawk along.
They showed us a portrait of the Madonna which was painted by St Luke, and it did not look half as old and smoky as some of the pictures by Rubens. We could not help admiring the Apostle's modesty in never once mentioning in his writings that he could paint.
But perhaps the most poetical thing Pompeii has yielded to modern research, was that grand figure of a Roman soldier, clad in complete armor; who, true to his duty, true to his proud name of a soldier of Rome, and full of the stern courage which had given to the name its glory, stood to his post by the city gate, erect and unflinching, till the hell that raged around him burned out the dauntless spirit it could not conquer.
if you hire a man to sneeze for you, here (Nazareth), and another man chooses to help him, you have got to pay both. They do nothing whatever without pay. How it must have surprised these people to hear the way of salvation offered to them 'without money and without price'.
The citizens of Endor objected to our going in there, They do not mind dirt; they do not mind rags; they do not mind vermin; they do not mind barbarous ignorance and savagery; they do not mind a reasonable degree of starvation, but they do like to be pure and holy before their god, whoever he may be, and therefore they shudder and grow almost pale at the idea of Christian lips polluting a spring whose waters must descend into their sanctified gullets.
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Der zweibändige Werk ward 1875 zum ersten Mal auf deutsch in zwei Bänden aber ohne Folgenummern herausgegeben. Der erste Band hieß Die Arglosen auf Reisen. Der zweite hieß Die neue Pilgerfahrt, nach dem Untertitel des englischen Werkes. Deshalb sind die zwei übersetzten Bände einzeln aufgeführt.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451525027, Mass Market Paperback)

Innocents Abroad began as a series of travel letters written by Mark Twain mainly for the Alta California, a San Francisco paper that sponsored his participation in the trip to Europe and the Holy Land in 1867 aboard the steamship Quaker City. On the excursion from New York to Palestine they traveled a distance of over 20,000 miles by land and sea through France, Spain, Italy, Morocco, Russia, Turkey and Egypt. Through his humorous and insightful writings, Twain describes countries, nations, incidents and his amazing adventures.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:45 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"The Innocents Abroad is one of the most prominent and influential travel books ever written about Europe and the Holy Land. In it, the collision of the American "New Barbarians" and the European "Old World" provides much comic fodder for Mark Twain - and a remarkably perceptive lens on the human condition. Gleefully skewering the ethos of American tourism in Europe, Twain's lively satire ultimately reveals just what it is that defines cultural identity. As Twain himself points out. "Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.""--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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