Start reading How to tell a story, and other essays on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

How to tell a story, and other essays [Kindle Edition]

Mark Twain
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $19.95 What's this?
Print List Price: $4.95
Kindle Price: $4.70
You Save: $0.25 (5%)

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Special Heart by Bret Baier
Special Heart by Bret Baier
Check out the newest book by Bret Baier. Learn more

Book Description

The Humorous Story an American Development. Its
Difference from Comic and Witty Stories.

I DO not claim that I can tell a story as it
ought to be told. I only claim to know how
a story ought to be told, for I have been al
most daily in the company of the most expert
story-tellers for many years.

There are several kinds of stories, but only
one difficult kind the humorous. I will talk
mainly about that one. The humorous story
is American, the comic story is English^the
witty story isJFrencrh The "humorous story
depends for its effect upon thfTmanner~oi the
telling; the comic story andjt
upon ihejngAcr.

The humorous story may be spun out to
great length, and may wander around as much
as it pleases, and arrive nowhere in partic
ular; but the comic and witty stories must
be brief and end with a point.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 –1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to his older brother Orion's newspaper. After toiling as a printer in various cities, he became a master riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River, before heading west to join Orion. He was a failure at gold mining, so he next turned to journalism. While a reporter, he wrote a humorous story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which proved to be very popular and brought him nationwide attention. His travelogues were also well-received. Twain had found his calling. He achieved great success as a writer and public speaker. His wit and satire earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty. However, he lacked financial acumen. Though he made a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, he squandered it on various ventures, in particular the Paige Compositor, and was forced to declare bankruptcy. With the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers, however, he eventually overcame his financial troubles. Twain worked hard to ensure that all of his creditors were paid in full, even though his bankruptcy had relieved him of the legal responsibility. Born during a visit by Halley's Comet, he died on its return. He was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age", and William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature".

Product Details

  • File Size: 402 KB
  • Print Length: 48 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00413QO8O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,875,060 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mark Twain extras June 15, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (Baby Board Books)

American writer Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain has given us some literary gems with Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and his travel adventures in nineteenth-century Europe and to Australia and New Zealand. Here is is discussing telling rather than writing a story.

Humour, he says, is American while comic is English and witty is French. He follows this typically brilliant essay with examples of story telling and some intriguing experiences of mental telegraphy.

Good on you Dodo Press for specialising in rare and out-of-print books.

Mark Twain devotees will want to add this slim volume to their collection.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the mouth of an American master April 26, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An entertaining read from on of America's treasured voices. I was particularly interested in the "How to Tell a Story" Essay and Mark Twain's lessons are just as relavent today. Kindle version was a welcome convenience and you can't beat the price!!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny essays and stories April 7, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Different editions of Twain's (1835-1910) writings contain different stories. This free book for amazon kindle users has five short essays and stories. Twain differentiates between humorous stories, which he says is an American invention, and comic stories, which he claims is English. There is also, he says, the witty story, which is French, but he does not discuss it in this volume. The humorous story depends on how it is told, the other two "on the matter."

The humorous story is told by word of mouth. It can go on and on with no apparent purpose other than to be funny. The joy is in the telling and it is an art to tell it well. He gives an example of a humorous story - The Wounded Soldier. He then gives an example of how a humorous story should be told - The Golden Arm. He shows by the dialect and by directions to the reader how it should be told. He emphasizes the importance of pauses and occasional noises just at the right time and with the right length.

Included in this volume is an essay telling of four incidences that he says happened to him. The title is Mental Telepathy Again. In each tale, another person who is far from him thinks something and he senses it. This essay is followed by The Invalid's Story. It is a very funny tale of how a healthy man became an invalid when he thought he was transporting the dead body of his friend to his parents when, because of a mix up, the crate contains guns and smelly limburger cheese.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very fast read! January 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a short and fast read! If you like Mark Twain then you'll eat this up and be wanting more....if you haven't ever read Mark Twain, then this is a good place to start. I actually wish the "How to tell a story" portion was longer. However, I read "Following the Equator" and that fulfilled my need for more of Twain's witty stories and wisdom from the road (or on the sea as the case may be). Take a look if you just like literature in general, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Free fun December 22, 2010
By L. Tuff
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I picked this up to read on my new Kindle and thought it must be a poorly written story because it was free and I've never heard of it. It was an entertaining short read about how to tell stories properly with a few examples expertly illustrating Mark Twains ideal format. Free and fun.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars Now I can only wonder November 26, 2014
By Gordon
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I chose this rating as I can't say I either liked or disliked this book. Indeed, though I can't say I enjoyed it, neither could I put it down for the need to see how it turned out. Now I wonder how long it might be before the symptoms of the malady I have contracted for the time exposed begin to inflict my poor frame.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars All of these were great June 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The "How to tell a Story" essay was rather telling into his own way of telling stories, though he doesn't tell a story that way all the time, but you can see his influence. The other anecdotes were fantastic, especially "The Invalid's Story."
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Write a Review and Other Essays March 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wonderful book, clever metaphors, and full of sound advice. Twain was unmatched in his ability to deliver satire in the most straightforward way, unerringly observant of the human condition and humbly honest in accounts of personal experience.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Search Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Mark Twain (1835-1910) was an American humorist, satirist, social critic, lecturer and novelist. He is mostly remembered for his classic novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category