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The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain
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The Mysterious Stranger (edition 2011)

by Mark Twain

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307836,351 (3.97)11
Member:nathan.phelps
Title:The Mysterious Stranger
Authors:Mark Twain
Info:CreateSpace (2011), Paperback, 86 pages
Collections:Fiction
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The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain

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In 1963, Paine's 1916 version was discovered to be a literary fraud. Paine "melded" three of Twain's earlier versions, omitted 1/4 of Twain's original text then added his own text and an additional character.

Twain scholars via the University of California Press released their final researched and complete version of Twain's No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger in a popular edition in 1982.

"The body of work is a serious social commentary by Twain addressing his ideas of the Moral Sense and the "damned human race"". -wiki.
  PitcherBooks | Feb 6, 2016 |
I hate reading books looking for the meaning. That may be the reason I sometimes avoid some of the classics. I knew what I was getting into with this book though- most of the message was pretty obvious. Entertaining but not one that will mean something deeper to my life! ( )
  Twikpet | Mar 29, 2013 |
I hate reading books looking for the meaning. That may be the reason I sometimes avoid some of the classics. I knew what I was getting into with this book though- most of the message was pretty obvious. Entertaining but not one that will mean something deeper to my life! ( )
  Twikpet | Mar 29, 2013 |
A delightful tale of a young stranger who comes to town and befriends three young friends, one of them the narrator of the story. The young man has some peculiar habits, at least to the minds of the young boys, not the least of which is a total lack of compassion for the plight of the human. Still, they enjoy his company, and long for him to return when he has been away a while, but his presence does wreck a great deal of havoc in the town. This book was unfinished when Mark Twain died, and was finished by someone else later; I must admit, even as a long time Twain fan, I cannot say at what point Twain left off and the other began, though there are hints throughout the story of things the author hints at expounding on later, but which were not carried through, possibly because the other author did not wish to read Twain's mind. Overall, a satisfying and fun work. ( )
  quantum_flapdoodle | Oct 4, 2012 |
This is an excellent novel, despite statements by literary experts that it is unfinished. Far from it, the version published in 1916 deserves a place in everyone's library for it speaks volumes about the human condition. It was written in a brisk and spare style, with humour, suspense, and wisdom (the finest example of this is probably Chapter 10). As whole, the book straddles the genres of the historical novel, of humour, of philosophy, of science-fiction, and does them all justice. And through these pages, Twain reminds us of Voltaire's famous aphorism, "Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer."

From the beginning, Twain slowly feeds his readers little morsels of magic and miracles to lure them in before making them to confront the harsh realities of life. We are shown a group of Austrian schoolboys from the Middle Ages and their village life. Then, comes Satan, the nephew of the Biblical Satan, and a virtual avatar of the author himself, who goes about the town with his miracles and his twisting of reality, like many omnipotent characters of modern fantasy and science-fiction. His miracles are done to amuse his mortal friends, the schoolboys. When they finally see the ironic results of their meddling and good intentions, they beg him to undo what has been done. However, Satan is blunt and unrepentant with the product of his power; that which is, now, is preferable to bleak, sorry existence of humanity.

Why?

Humanity, or more specifically, Western civilization, is for him a miserable animal/creature that dooms itself on account of its self-delusions. We preach and pray, but we really prey on each other and kill each other for reasons that are quite clear, that are obviously immoral, but are shrouded in endless veils of self-delusions, e.g. nationalism, superstition, the morality of jus ad bellum.

But, we can forgive this Satan, in the end, for teaching us about ourselves. We may also sometimes find him the humorous outsider. As an angel, as an omniscient outsider, or perhaps just a mirage, only he is equipped to judge us as a species.

I also think that any alarmed by Twain's frankness will also forgive him in the end, for being honest about us, and for trying to teach us one last lesson.
  GYKM | May 24, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Twainprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wyeth, N.C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was in 1590 - winter.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This work is the single work published in 1916. Do not combine it with the Mark Twain Library edition or with any work called No. 44, the Mysterious Stranger (or variations on that name) as they are different works with significantly different content.
Please don't combine this single work with any collections in which this work is contained.
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Contains:

The Mysterious Stranger, A Fable, Hunting the Deceitful Turkey, The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm
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The story of, a stranger with supernatural powers who happens into a print shop in Germany in 1490.

(summary from another edition)

Legacy Library: Mark Twain

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