The Mysterious Stranger -- author Mark Twain.

Discussion in 'Survival Reading Room' started by DKR, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Free at Project Gutenberg

    Why - I think most folks that even bothered to read any of Twain's work works started - and stopped, at Hick Finn. His short stories are a much easier read. I view him as an indifferent author at best

    This book was free and as I was traveling, it made for good fodder in the airport waiting area.

    My tablet will hold tons of books, this was first to read in the "got nothing better to do" list. I was surprised, it was a good read - and hard hitting on organized religion, as seen by MT.

    This free book is mostly MT and does have an interesting view of contemporary religion. You can decide for you. I'm sure Chell is a fan.

    Some background:
    The edition published in 1916 is composed mainly of a heavily edited Chronicle of Young Satan, with a slightly altered version of the ending from No. 44 tacked on. Albert Bigelow Paine, who had sole possession of Twain's unfinished works after Twain's death and kept them private, claimed that he had searched through Twain's manuscripts and had found the proper intended ending for The Mysterious Stranger. Note - Twain never finished the story as a complete work.

    After Paine's death in 1937, Bernard DeVoto became possessor of Twain's manuscripts and released them to the public. Beginning in the 1960s, critics studied the original copies of the story and found that the ending Paine chose for The Mysterious Stranger referred to the characters from different versions of the story (e.g., No. 44 instead of Satan) and the original names had been crossed out and written over in Paine's handwriting.

    In 1963, scholars led by researcher John S. Tuckey carefully examined Twain's papers and manuscripts and discovered that Paine had not only tampered with and patched together three previously unfinished manuscripts, but had with assistance from Frederick Duneka added passages not written by Twain in order to complete the The Mysterious Stranger. In addition to omitting a quarter of the original text, Paine's version invents the character of an astrologer who is made responsible for the villainies of Father Adolf.

    The book version linked above is the one that was published in 1916. It maintains Twain's criticisms of what he believed to be the hypocrisy of conventional religion.

    Bottom line
    According to editor W. M. Gibson, Paine's volume was a literary fraud that went undetected for more than forty years. Nevertheless, Gibson also admits that "the cut, cobbled-together, partially falsified text has the power to move and to satisfy aesthetically despite its flaws.
    Bandit99, 3M-TA3, Motomom34 and 2 others like this.
  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Sounds interesting... Going to look at it.
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