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The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg (The Art of the Novella) Paperback – October 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."
—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

"Small wonders."
Time Out London

"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer

"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
The New Yorker

"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)

"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Mark Twain was born Samuel Clemens in 1835 in Florida, Missouri, and raised in nearby Hannibal. After apprenticing as a printer, he left home at 18 to travel the world. He returned to captain a Mississippi riverboat for four years, then headed west on a stage coach, filing absurdist travel stories for newspapers along the way—using a river boater's warning for shallow waters as his pen-name. Chased out of San Francisco after reporting on the police chief, he hid in a mining town and overheard a yarn he turned into a successful story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". But true fame came with his 1876 novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It's sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is considered one of the world's great masterpieces.

In demand, Twain wrote prolifically and lectured far and wide. He also founded a publishing house, publishing the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. But when an investment in an early typewriter failed, he fled the U.S. for Europe—a trip that saw the death of his daughter. His wife died soon thereafter. Twain overcame his financial troubles, but not the loss of his loved ones, and his last writings were dark works stretching beyond his homespun narrative to fantasy, science fiction, and scathing political commentary. He died in 1910.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Art of the Novella
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976140799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976140795
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,328,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Bill R. Moore on July 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Though less well-known than some of his earlier works, "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg" is one of Mark Twain's greatest works and one of the all-time best short stories/novellas. It is absolutely essential and a fine introduction to the later, darker Twain.

Like most great works, "The Man" is many things and works on many levels. Nearly everyone can enjoy it, not least because it has an excellent premise that pulls us in immediately and keeps us intensely focused until the last word. Few works have a more intriguing central mystery or are as supremely suspenseful.

More importantly, Twain is one of very few artists who can write this engagingly while having very meaningful - and even didactic - themes, and this is an exemplar. The story is a bitter human nature denunciation; Twain mercilessly tears into moral weakness, hypocrisy, greed, and other detestable qualities with a tent evangelist's fire. Few works are more thoroughly or persuasively misanthropic; anyone with a positive view of human nature going into the story can hardly have one afterward. The blow is so crushing that it is almost painful to read - but we keep reading because the writing is so interesting. The extreme heavy-handedness means this is far from Twain's greatest work in the purely artistic sense, but its eternally relevant message is undeniable and should not be ignored.

The story is well worth reading in itself, but the fact that it is in many collections - such as The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain - makes a standalone hard to justify. The important thing at any rate is to get it in some form.
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Format: Paperback
Loved this comic yet profound story of a town that held itself to a virtue that it had not allowed itself to be tested against. When they are tested they're found sadly lacking. Wonderful humour and satire on the state of the 'holier-than-thou' mindset of some people and yet in the end Twain shows how one can be at one's best when not consciously thinking of putting the other man first for one's own gain. Yet this is a circular farce as the characters can never be satisfied and find the guilt of being "found out" too strong to bear that they ruin the reputations of each other even when they think they have the best intentions in mind. Twain's moral is that one cannot overcome temptation if one has never been tempted. An entertaining and humorous satire.
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