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No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger (Mark Twain Library) Paperback – April 5, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Mark Twain Library (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 3rd Revised edition edition (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780520270008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520270008
  • ASIN: 0520270002
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Wilks on April 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is literally the last work of fiction by Mr. Twain. Those familiar with his short stories will remember a similarly titled 60+ page story in which the devil makes an interesting visit to a small Austrian village during the dark ages. This novel, while sharing some commonalities with the latter, is essentially its own animal, though not quite as darkly pessimistic. It is a good quick read-something you'll want to read twice in order to fully appreciate. It is very funny at times, at others somewhat predictable, but always entertaining and imaginative. It is remarkable how much insight Twain had into the modern world and its connection to history. Highly recommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By mfuller@posisource.com on July 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Aside from Twain's depiction of God as a malevolent and mischevious deity, the story illustrates Twain's pessimistic view of Christianity in general. There is much vitriol spilled - toward God - at the end of the work. Certainly the death of Twain's daughter had much to do with excentuating this antagonism towards God and religion. Mysterious Stranger, especially the chilling conclusion, is a disturbing tale - as Twain no doubt intended it to be. A worthwhile read but be prepared to have your religious moorings and faith shaken.
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful By J. G. Pavlovich on July 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
There is much confusion regarding the several editions of The Mysterious Stranger. This volume from the Mark Twain Library is titled "No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger". It is NOT No. 44 in the series as often listed. More importantly it is NOT the same as the story titled "The Mysterious Stranger" to which most of the reviews refer. This story, only published as part of The Mark Twain Library, is a later manuscript utilizing some of the same themes and characters from the better known story, but otherwise very different. Neither story was published in Twain's lifetime. Following Twain's death his literary executor, A. B. Paine, selected one of three stories written on similar themes, and published it as "The Mysterious Stranger" following some changes and editing including adding an ending which was apparently written for another version. While Paine's changes were controversial, his decision as to which manuscript was worth publishing was certainly correct.

The publishers of The Mark Twain Library series would have us believe that "No. 44" was Twain's own preferred version based primarily on chronology. Twain, however, had a habit of suppressing his own work -- particularly some of his most biting satires (See DeVoto's edition of Twain's "Letters from the Earth.") believing it, perhaps, too controversial for its time.

The story of the evolution of "The Mysterious Stranger" and all three manuscripts as Twain left them can be found in William Gibson's "Mark Twain's Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts."

This story, "No.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 27, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I hadn't realized what a thoughtful and unusual man Mark Twain was until I read this book. This is a beautifully written book that examines the questions that all thinking humans face concerning God, heaven, hell, etc. It's written with a story line, but that really is just a framework to explore some wonderful and terrible questions. This is a wonderfully painless way to read philosophy. It took a courageous man to write this and stray from the "accepted" philosophy. In this time when so many are required to prove how "God-fearing" they are, this book shows that there always have been, and always will be, questions about religion that disturb
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By O. Elmore on April 24, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Mysterious Stranger published soon after Twain's death was an attempt at making a quick profit by rewriting some incomplete manuscript pages. On the other hand, THIS version -- No. 44 -- was painstakingly pieced together over the course of many years by Twain scholars. The result is a manuscript that is closer in tone and theme to Twain's other later work. I also believe No. 44 to be more fully coherent than the previous version.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of the finest personal allegories I've ever read. I was struck by the literary quality of the work -- quality which wasn't sacrificed by a quantity of painful emotional content. The ending was NOT unhappy or cynical; it was an expression of an artist, an insightful social satirist trying to be honest enough to, at the end of his life, turn that insight onto himself. The result is astonishing, a powerful account of one man retrieving the disparate parts of his self after a life of physical and spiritual fragmentation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By rgcook@freewwweb.com on October 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
Puts a new meaning to the question, "whats the meaning of life?" questions religion and life itself. This book made me look at life in a new way and probably will do the same for you.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I shall be forever grateful to my sardonic 7th grade English teacher for making this required reading. Who is the mysterious stranger? Is he God or the Devil or just some terrifying conjurer? Ultimately, it really doesn't matter as the little boy in this story learns that fate can be a hard master & that hope and courage are the only weapons with which to fight it.
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