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Extract From Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven (1909) (The Oxford Mark Twain) Hardcover – December 5, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Professor of American Studies, University of Texas, Austin.

Product Details

  • Series: The Oxford Mark Twain
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 5, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019510157X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195101577
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.7 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,629,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shelley Fisher Fishkin's broad, interdisciplinary research interests have led her to focus on topics including the ways in which American writers' apprenticeships in journalism shaped their poetry and fiction; the influence of African American voices on canonical American literature; the need to desegregate American literary studies; American theatre history; the development of feminist criticism; the relationship between public history and literary history; literature and animal welfare; and the challenge of doing transnational American Studies. Although much of her work has centered on Mark Twain, she has also published on writers including Gloria Anzaldua, John Dos Passos, Frederick Douglass, Theodore Dreiser, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Erica Jong, Maxine Hong Kingston, Tillie Olsen, and Walt Whitman.

Dr. Fishkin is a Professor of English and Director of the Program in American Studies at Stanford University. After receiving her B.A.from Yale College (summa cum laude, phi beta kappa), she stayed on at Yale for a masters degree in English and a Ph.D. in American Studies, and was Director of the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism there. She taught American Studies and English at the University of Texas from 1985 to 2003, and was Chair of the Department of American Studies. She is a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, England, where she was a Visiting Fellow, and has twice been a Visiting Scholar at Stanford's Institute for Research on Women and Gender. She has been awarded an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, was a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Japan, and was the winner of a Harry H. Ransom Teaching Excellence Award at the University of Texas.

Dr. Fishkin is the author, editor or co-editor of over forty books and has published over eighty articles, essays and reviews. Her work has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Georgian, and Italian, and has been published in English-language journals in Turkey, Japan, and Korea. She is the author of: From Fact to Fiction: Journalism and Imaginative Writing in America (winner of a Frank Luther Mott/Kappa Tau Alpha Award for outstanding research in journalism history) (Johns Hopkins, 1985); Was Huck Black? Mark Twain and African-American Voices (selected as an "Outstanding Academic Book" by Choice) (Oxford, 1993); Lighting Out for the Territory: Reflections on Mark Twain and American Culture (Oxford, 1997), and Feminist Engagements: Forays Into American Literature and Culture (selected as an "Outstanding Academic Title" by Choice) (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009). She is the editor of the 29-volume Oxford Mark Twain (Oxford, 1996; Paperback reprint edition, 2009), the Oxford Historical Guide to Mark Twain (Oxford, 2002), "Is He Dead?" A New Comedy by Mark Twain (University of California, 2003), Mark Twain's Book of Animals (Univerisity of California Press, 2009), and The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on his LIfe and Work (Library of America, 2010). She is also a producer of the adaptation of Twain's "Is He Dead?" which had its world debut on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre in 2007, and was nominated for a Tony Award. She is the co-editor of Listening to Silences: New Essays in Feminist Criticism (Oxford, 1994); People of the Book: Thirty Scholars Reflect on Their Jewish Identity (Wisconsin, 1996); The Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America (M.E. Sharpe, 1997); Mark Twain at the Turn of the Century, 1890-1910 (Arizona Quarterly, 2005); 'Sport of the Gods' and Other Essential Writing by Paul Laurence Dunbar (Random House, 2005), Anthology of American Literature, ninth edition (Prentice-Hall, 2006), Concise Anthology of American Literature, seventh edition (Prentice-Hall, 2010), and a special issue of African American Review devoted to the work of Paul Laurence Dunbar (autumn 2007). From 1993 to 2003 she co-edited Oxford University Press's "Race and American Culture" book series with Arnold Rampersad. She was co-founder of the Charlotte Perkins Gilman society, and has been president of the Mark Twain Circle of America and chair of the MLA Nonfiction Prose Division. She recently finished a term as President of the American Studies Association, and gave keynote talks during the last five years at national American Studies conferences in China, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Russia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Her research has been featured twice on the front page of the New York Times, and in 2009 she was awarded the Mark Twain Circle's Certificate of Merit "for long and distinguished service in the elucidation of the work, thought, life and art of Mark Twain." She is t a member of the Board of Governors of the Humanities Research Institute of the University of California, and is a founding Editor of the new online Journal of Transnational American Studies [see and].

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Tired of tedious, if earnest, pseudo-philosophizers who will give you
all the secrets of universal happiness in ten minutes a day? Tired of
smug pulpit-pounders who somehow, while still human, seem to "know" as much
as any divinity you can think of? Then it's time to spend an hour with
Mark Twain. Come on: you haven't given the old guy a minute since you
had to read "Huckleberry Finn" in high school or college, and it's
about time you did. Captain Stormfield's "Extract" is just the tonic
your overburdened soul needs. Stormfield's heaven seems to let everybody
in, and to do its best to fulfill every one of their dreams, until--
you guessed it--their expectations conflict. How can Moses, for example,
be expected to greet every faithful Jew, Christian and Muslim, with hugs and kisses
without 1] getting soaked with slobber, and 2] getting disgusted with his lack of free time? "[The patriarchs] are kind and gentle old Jews, but they ain't any fonder of kissing the emotional highlights of Brooklyn than you be." Enough said.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on July 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven" is one of Mark Twain's many excellent satires and one that seems to have been particularly important to him in that he worked on it over decades. A novella or longish short story, it was begun in the 1860s and apparently finished in the 1890s but not published in book form until 1909, six months before Twain's death. This was his last major publication. It is easy to see why he held back; the work is highly irreverent, poking merciless fun at the Abrahamic religions, specifically Christianity. Many cherished beliefs are exposed as foolish and/or nonsensical, and the story goes a long way toward putting long-accepted, rarely-questioned dogmas in a new light. That said, it is very light-hearted satire compared to most of Twain's late works, especially the satires. The story is full of humor and goes on for quite a while in a light vein before reaching the satirical meat. Even when the latter arrives, the bitterness and anger we might expect are absent. As always, Twain makes sure that the story is entertaining, which keeps us reading despite the somewhat bitter pill, but this is not his strongest work artistically. The plot is very episodic to the extent that anything happens at all, and much of it is conveyed in somewhat contrived dialogue that can border on heavy-handed. Even so, anyone who appreciates Twain's satire and/or theological views will find much to like. In addition, like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, "Extract" is a notable example of proto-science fiction. It is a good introduction to the darker works and well worth reading in itself, though the fact that it is in many collections - The Complete Short Stories, The Bible According to Mark Twain, etc. - makes a standalone hard to justify.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mikael Kuoppala on February 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Report from Paradise" is Mark Twain's last published book and it took him over forty years to finish it. It has also been reported that it was the only story Twain aka Samuel Clemens actually enjoyed writing.
Twain's description of the afterlife as seen through the eyes of a sailor is quite original and there are many interesting aspects to Twain's at times taunting writing, with clear implications to social criticism tetectable.
"Report from Paradise" is a short and light read, and despite it's many inconsistancies it manages to relay a fun quality to it with the expence of blindly followed religious beliefs and ways of thinking.
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