D.M. Kenyon's Reviews > The Mysterious Stranger

The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain
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Nov 14, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: literary-fiction
Read in September, 2010

It may seem nonsensical that I would rate my favorite book with only four out of five stars. The reason for this is because, the 1916 edition of Mark Twain's Mysterious Stranger is not entirely original to Twain. Twain died in 1910 with several versions of a manuscript for the Mysterious Stranger incomplete. The versions vary considerably in setting and in story line, although they arguably seek to make the same point.

The popular version of this story was completed by his editor and, therefore, loses its status as pure Twain. Having said that, this story is outstanding in its criticism of didactic Christian culture and the influence of religion on society.

Satan's final soliloquy in the published version is a rant that not only challenges American puritanical Christian thinking, but opens the door to a distinctly existential point of view that ultimately became a prevailing point of view in the modern era. It is almost as if Twain gives birth to the realization that man is responsible for the creation of god, and the good or evil that gets done in his name, by lambasting the traditional superstitious point of view with a tongue-lashing from Satan designed to smack the human race into awareness.

This book is brilliant, but sadly not entirely Twain's.
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03/15/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark Andre' I wrote a paper in college on MS, and not to disagree, but I thought
the ending was borrowed from another variant (by Twain) and his editor supplied a couple of transitional sentences to splice the two pieces together.


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