This collection of lesser-known little gems by Mark Twain begins with a witty account of a fictional town called Hadleyburg, which prides itself on its long untarnished tradition of incorruptible citizens. One day someone in the town offends a stranger passing through and he vows to take revenge by plotting an elaborate scheme to show the whole nation just how corruptible this sanctimonious bastion of virtue really is. Through a series of cleverly placed letters promising a fortune, the insidious outsider lays a trap for each of HadleyburgAEs leading citizens. Twain is at his best here poking fun at small-town hypocrisy as the self-satisfied pillars of the community are done in by their own greed. Also included are fourteen other short pieces of fiction and nonfiction, including TwainAEs account of his literary debut as a reporter, in which he described the harrowing journey and rescue of some ship-wrecked sailors; an essay on the famous authorAEs ofirst lie, o which begins humorously but quickly turns into a serious commentary on the silent lies society tolerates to perpetuate such injustices as slavery and prejudice; an amusing, tongue-in-cheek petition to Queen Victoria regarding a tax bill sent to Twain by the British revenue office for an amount due on sales of his books in England; an oEsquimau MaidenAEs Romanceo; a detective story; and many other intriguing, scarcely known pieces. These interesting and entertaining short works will be a welcome discovery to all those who have enjoyed TwainAEs popular novels and stories.
About the Author
Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was an American humorist and writer, who is best known for his enduring novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which has been called the Great American Novel. Raised in Hannibal, Missouri, Twain held a variety of jobs including typesetter, riverboat pilot, and miner before achieving nationwide attention for his work as a journalist with The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. He earned critical and popular praise for his wit and enjoyed a successful career as a public speaker in addition to his writing. Twain s works were remarkable for his ability to capture colloquial speech, although his adherence to the vernacular of the time has resulted in the suppression of his works by schools in modern times. Twain s birth in 1835 coincided with a visit by Halley s Comet, and Twain predicted, accurately, that he would go out with it as well, dying the day following the comet s return in 1910.