What is Man?
and Other Irreverent Essays
What is Man? by Mark Twain
Book DescriptionMark Twain is sometimes envisioned as a kind of nineteenth-century American offshoot of Voltaire. Like his French counterpart, he expressed a deeply felt indignation at religious hypocrisy and obscurantism, and peppered his satirical writings, especially in his later years, with stinging wit and iconoclastic fervour. This unique collection assembles writings in which Twain views the multifarious claims of religion - metaphysical, moral, and political - with a skeptical eye. As the editor points out in the introduction, Twain took aim at religion not just out of irreverent glee but because of serious concerns about central religious tenets that weighed on his mind for much of his life. Though he maintained till his death that he believed in God, he expressed deep skepticism regarding such religious beliefs as 'special Providence' (God's interference in the affairs of individual human beings), the concept of hell, the religious basis of morality, and the divine inspiration of the Bible. The centrepiece of the book is the long philosophical dialogue, "What Is Man?" (1906), which presents a rigidly deterministic view of human behaviour, claiming that every action is the product of 'outside influences'. Twain also asserts that altruism does not exist: we help others primarily as a means of making ourselves comfortable. Other writings in the book condemn religious exclusivity, the hypocritical Christian thirst for money, and the disgraceful treatment of animals by a supposedly moral human race. Containing many writings by Twain not generally available except in expensive academic publications, this excellent and affordable paperback edition has been annotated to elucidate historical, literary, religious, and other references. Also included is a lengthy introduction providing a historical overview of Twain's shifting attitudes toward religion.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781591026853
(230mm x 155mm x 15mm)
Imprint: Prometheus Books
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publish Date: 30-Jan-2009
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Mark Twain
Collected Nonfiction, Hardback (October 2016)
Politics, religion, culture, travel, science and technology, family life: nothing escaped the eye and pen of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, nineteenth-century America's most famous writer and a legend in his own lifetime. In this book, he tells his story.
Oxford Children's Classics: the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Paperback (September 2016)
If you like the sound of rafting down the mighty Mississippi then The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the story for you! Not only does this edition include the complete, unabridged text, it is also full of extra material to help you get the most from the story and gives lots of recommendations for other adventures you might enjoy.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Paperback (August 2016)
Widely considered one of the greatest American novels, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn tells the story of Huck Finn and his companion, the slave Jim, as they journey down the Mississippi river after running away from Huck's alcoholic father and Jim's owners.
Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins (1894), Paperback (May 2016)» View all books by Mark Twain
The two narratives published together in The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson and the Comedy of Those Extraordinary Twins are overflowing with spectacular events. Twain shows us conjoined twins, babies exchanged in the cradle, acts of cross-dressing and racial masquerade, duels, a lynching, and a murder mystery.
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Author Biography - Mark Twain
S. T. Joshi (Seattle, WA) is a freelance writer, scholar, and editor whose previous books include Documents of American Prejudice; In Her Place: A Documentary History of Prejudice against Women; God's Defenders: What They Believe and Why They Are Wrong; Atheism: A Reader; H. L. Mencken on Religion; The Agnostic Reader; and What Is Man? And Other Irreverent Essays by Mark Twain.
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