Twain was born shortly after a visit by Halley’s Comet, and he predicted that he would “go out with it”, too. He died the day after the comet returned. He was lauded as the “greatest American humorist of his age”, and William Faulkner called Twain “the father of American literature”. “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn,” Ernest Hemingway wrote in 1935.
Born as Samuel Clemens on November 30, 1835, Mark Twain still makes us laugh. Of course, when you analyze humor, you often kill it. But the best kind of humor is serious, and Twain’s jokes go to the roots of human nature. Universal and timeless, Twain endures as required reading.
Read on to see books the staff at Lawn Gnome Publishing carries. We suggest these books for anyone that loves Americana. We believe that Twain is the key to understanding the morality, race, religion, freedom, business, creativity, and landscape that makes up America.
“Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.”
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (ebook)
An American classic, this is the story of the amusing and mischievous boy from the Mississippi river banks who embarks on many adventures.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
“Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it — namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.”
“It is true, that which I have revealed to you; there is no God, no universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all a dream—a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought—a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!”
“It was a splendid population – for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home – you never find that sort of people among pioneers – you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day – and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, “Well, that is California all over.”
The Gilded Age
“We are born in a Pullman house. We are fed from a Pullman shop, taught in a Pullman school, catechized in the Pullman church and when we die we shall be buried in a Pullman cemetery and go to a Pullman hell.”
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
“Stay is a charming word in a friend’s vocabulary.”
“I believe our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey. I believe that whenever a human being, of even the highest intelligence and culture, delivers an opinion upon a matter apart from his particular and especial line of interest, training and experience, it will always be an opinion of so foolish and so valueless a sort that it can be depended upon to suggest our Heavenly Father that the human being is another disappointment and that he is no considerable improvement upon the monkey.”
“After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.”
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