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The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain

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For deft plotting, riotous inventiveness, unforgettable characters, and language that brilliantly captures the lively rhythms of American speech, no American writer comes close to Mark Twain. This sparkling anthology covers the entire span of Twain’s inimitable yarn-spinning, from his early broad comedy to the biting satire of his later years. Every one of his sixty stories For deft plotting, riotous inventiveness, unforgettable characters, and language that brilliantly captures the lively rhythms of American speech, no American writer comes close to Mark Twain. This sparkling anthology covers the entire span of Twain’s inimitable yarn-spinning, from his early broad comedy to the biting satire of his later years. Every one of his sixty stories is here: ranging from the frontier humor of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” to the bitter vision of humankind in “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” to the delightful hilarity of “Is He Living or Is He Dead?” Surging with Twain’s ebullient wit and penetrating insight into the follies of human nature, this volume is a vibrant summation of the career of–in the words of H. L. Mencken–“the father of our national literature.”


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For deft plotting, riotous inventiveness, unforgettable characters, and language that brilliantly captures the lively rhythms of American speech, no American writer comes close to Mark Twain. This sparkling anthology covers the entire span of Twain’s inimitable yarn-spinning, from his early broad comedy to the biting satire of his later years. Every one of his sixty stories For deft plotting, riotous inventiveness, unforgettable characters, and language that brilliantly captures the lively rhythms of American speech, no American writer comes close to Mark Twain. This sparkling anthology covers the entire span of Twain’s inimitable yarn-spinning, from his early broad comedy to the biting satire of his later years. Every one of his sixty stories is here: ranging from the frontier humor of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” to the bitter vision of humankind in “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” to the delightful hilarity of “Is He Living or Is He Dead?” Surging with Twain’s ebullient wit and penetrating insight into the follies of human nature, this volume is a vibrant summation of the career of–in the words of H. L. Mencken–“the father of our national literature.”

30 review for The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mischenko

    This book is featured on this week's 'Shabby Sunday' @ https://readrantrockandroll.com/2017/... Growing up in my grandparents home, we had books from wall to wall. My grandfather was a teacher and loved the written word. We had plenty of books to keep us busy. One of the only books that I have left in my collection that belonged to my grandfather is The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain. I can still remember him reading it when I was just a young child. To me, this is a must-have for any Mark This book is featured on this week's 'Shabby Sunday' @ https://readrantrockandroll.com/2017/... Growing up in my grandparents home, we had books from wall to wall. My grandfather was a teacher and loved the written word. We had plenty of books to keep us busy. One of the only books that I have left in my collection that belonged to my grandfather is The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain. I can still remember him reading it when I was just a young child. To me, this is a must-have for any Mark Twain fan. Mine is the 1957 edition hardcover. A few of my favorites are- A Dying Man's Confession, A Day at Niagara, A Ghost Story, A Dog's Tale, and Luck. I'm happy to have it to share with my kids. Definitely a keeper! 5*****

  2. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    The sixty stories in this comprehensive volume are honest-to-goodness cigar-chompin’ charmers, whether Twain’s in the mood for a frolic, for a scathing assault on the cruddiness of the human race, for a first-person ramblin’ monologue, for an examination on the brutalising effects of the American dollar on the American character, for a full-on blunderbussing of so-called incorruptible small towns, for an hilarious pastiche of Sherlock Holmes stories, for an epistolary yarn told from the perspect The sixty stories in this comprehensive volume are honest-to-goodness cigar-chompin’ charmers, whether Twain’s in the mood for a frolic, for a scathing assault on the cruddiness of the human race, for a first-person ramblin’ monologue, for an examination on the brutalising effects of the American dollar on the American character, for a full-on blunderbussing of so-called incorruptible small towns, for an hilarious pastiche of Sherlock Holmes stories, for an epistolary yarn told from the perspective of a horse, for a slapdown of the hypocrisies of religious fussbudgets, for a pastiche of Wellsian sci-fi, for a peep into the diaries of Adam and Eve, for a sneering indictment on the barbarism of southerners to their slaves, to a scathing conclusion that the kindest fate for the living to is to be dead. Twain’s elegant wit and moral indignation is in evidence in each of these brilliant, timeless tales, the first writer we can call “the conscience of America” without appearing like a cheap hack. Read this man.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    To be honest, this was sort of a "desperation" book; one of many that I've picked up from the three for a dollar room at the Boston Book Annex, which is down the street. At three for a buck I can pick up all sorts of odd books that I wouldn't normally try. The Twain book doesn't really fall into that category, of course; I've read a fair amount of Twain. But the thing about this edition was that it was over 600 pages long with small type; it was very compact. Anyway, I grabbed the Twain collection To be honest, this was sort of a "desperation" book; one of many that I've picked up from the three for a dollar room at the Boston Book Annex, which is down the street. At three for a buck I can pick up all sorts of odd books that I wouldn't normally try. The Twain book doesn't really fall into that category, of course; I've read a fair amount of Twain. But the thing about this edition was that it was over 600 pages long with small type; it was very compact. Anyway, I grabbed the Twain collection (which also includes short stand-alone fiction taken from within longer novels and non-fiction books) because it was long, not too big (the paper is extremely thin and delicate), and would take a long time to read. I expected that it might be a little dull. Twain's language has dated a bit, after all. But the old boy has life in him yet. I laughed out loud - loudly - more than once, and one story got me so choked up that I spent half an hour fighting back tears. Yes, I'm a big sap. No, I'm not going to tell you which story. I was sorry when I came to the end of the book. It won't be long before I read it again.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kurt

    (I wrote a positive review for the Amazon Vine program because the Amazon community tends to leave harsh comments on negative reviews, but this Goodreads review will highlight all of the good points I honestly shared.. with more balance on how bad the bad parts were) Seriously, this is over 700 pages of folksy humor and wisdom. No one needs that much Mark Twain except serious scholars, and the rest of us will be fine flipping through this and enjoying a few stories before displaying it on a shelf (I wrote a positive review for the Amazon Vine program because the Amazon community tends to leave harsh comments on negative reviews, but this Goodreads review will highlight all of the good points I honestly shared.. with more balance on how bad the bad parts were) Seriously, this is over 700 pages of folksy humor and wisdom. No one needs that much Mark Twain except serious scholars, and the rest of us will be fine flipping through this and enjoying a few stories before displaying it on a shelf for the handsome item that it is. Most of the last half is nearly unreadable, with novella-length stories of highly mannered dialogue and virtuous characters (there are some good pieces in there, of course, like The Million-Pound Bank Note, about a man who has to play out a bet when strangers give him a bill so large that he can never use it, and a brief fable at the end that echoes Aesop in using a silly animal story to get into something profound about seeing what we want to see in art criticism), and some of the early humor pieces are absolutely maddening (a tale of a medieval sex scandal that literally ends with Mark Twain writing that he doesn't know how to get his characters out of their mess so he's just going to stop writing, and a very funny travel piece about how Niagara Falls is a miserable place, which ends with a thuddingly preposterous hyperbole about "and then I got killed, then I got killed some more, then I got killed some more" - I suspect this may have been a popular style of humor at the time, but it's annoying today). Yes, this is Mark Twain, and he gives us some really good stories: Some Learned Fables for Good Old Boys and Girls (p. 114), a story of a crew of forest creatures on a scientific journey into the world of Man, is a clever satire of scientific expeditions and the confidence with which we stick to our conclusions that may be sincere and logical but also incorrect, and A Curious Experience (p. 175), a surprisingly gripping thriller about a military officer who suspects his obnoxiously pious new recruit is secretly a spy (it ends with the kind of craziness that made me hate Tom Sawyer at the end of Huckleberry Finn, but is compelling until then). I also love Cannibalism in the Cars (p. 13), a tale of a group of politicians stranded in a disaster that leads them to engage in proper parliamentary procedure to determine who should be eaten for the sake of the group's survival (I love the darkness and humor seeping through the strict debate structures). Overall, though, the amusing tales are hidden among many many stories that have not held up well a century after their publication (really, in all fairness, is anything being written today going to be loved in a hundred years? It's not Twain's fault that he wrote for his time, and I hope I don't come across as claiming he's a bad writer. My review is about how much I expect a contemporary reader to enjoy the work, not how good it is in some objective sense) and I can't imagine anyone but a serious Mark Twain scholar turning the last page and feeling satisfied. I enjoyed Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and still didn't like this collection. If you know you love Mark Twain, then this is a thorough and attractive collection of his short pieces. If you have only a casual interest, though, please do not buy this book and commit to hundreds of pages of literature that you won't like.

  5. 4 out of 5

    - Jared - ₪ Book Nerd ₪

    Loved it! I only need read 3 more books and I'd have read his complete works! Woot! Now I leave you with a harmless lyric: -------------------------------------- Conductor, when you receive a fare, Punch in the presence of the passenjare! A blue trip slip for an eight-cent fare, A buff trip slip for a six-cent fare, A pink trip slip for a three-cent fare, Punch in the presence of the passenjare! CHORUS Punch, brothers! punch with care! Punch in the presence of the passenjare! Loved it! I only need read 3 more books and I'd have read his complete works! Woot! Now I leave you with a harmless lyric: -------------------------------------- Conductor, when you receive a fare, Punch in the presence of the passenjare! A blue trip slip for an eight-cent fare, A buff trip slip for a six-cent fare, A pink trip slip for a three-cent fare, Punch in the presence of the passenjare! CHORUS Punch, brothers! punch with care! Punch in the presence of the passenjare!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jen Six

    I was one of those rare people that had somehow never read an actual Twain book. I remember there was a man dressed as Twain who came to our school and did his one man show, that was about the length of my knowledge. My high school AP english teacher got me addicted to finding quotations and I started a binder for them after years of collecting and noticed quite a few were from Twain. So, finally, when my son was born, I went out and bought Huckberry Finn, and Tom Sawyer, but grabbed this book f I was one of those rare people that had somehow never read an actual Twain book. I remember there was a man dressed as Twain who came to our school and did his one man show, that was about the length of my knowledge. My high school AP english teacher got me addicted to finding quotations and I started a binder for them after years of collecting and noticed quite a few were from Twain. So, finally, when my son was born, I went out and bought Huckberry Finn, and Tom Sawyer, but grabbed this book for myself since I knew I'd have a way to ease into Twain since my son was a few years away from appreciating the stories of Tom and Huck. Each short story was cleverly written and only made me realize all the more how funny, highly intelligent, and honest to the core Mark Twain was. He had that ability to size up a man quickly and tell a story well enough that you fully met their character and it would not leave you what the story was about. In truth, I'm not finished with this book, I have the last few stories at the back that are longer than those in the beginning, but I've put it on the shelve, still bookmarked where I left off so I can read it a later time, kinda like starting a tub of ice cream and saving the rest for later. You know it's good, and you want it, but just saving some for later, you know you'll enjoy it all the more and probably need it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patra

    All of Mark Twain's stories read all at once was a bit too much. He is so sarcastic that after reading one story after another you begin to feel this negative vibe for the world. Some of his short stories standing on their own were excellent. I enjoyed, A Day at Niagara, Journalism in Tennessee, A Medieval Romance and Buck Fanshaw's Funeral to name a few. Most of the ones I enjoyed, were written early on in Mark Twain's career. My least favorites came at the end when he seemed to become so negat All of Mark Twain's stories read all at once was a bit too much. He is so sarcastic that after reading one story after another you begin to feel this negative vibe for the world. Some of his short stories standing on their own were excellent. I enjoyed, A Day at Niagara, Journalism in Tennessee, A Medieval Romance and Buck Fanshaw's Funeral to name a few. Most of the ones I enjoyed, were written early on in Mark Twain's career. My least favorites came at the end when he seemed to become so negative that the stories really weren't funny anymore. Anyways, I'd recommend this collection if you take a few stories at a time, but it's definitely not something to be read straight through.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex Telander

    For anyone who’s grown up in the United States, you’ve more than likely been exposed to Mark Twain in one form or another, whether it’s having read one or more of his books in high school, seeing a biographical story about him on TV, or hearing one of the many hundreds of references about him; to many his is the quintessential “Great American Author.” And just a little over a century after his passing, Everyman’s Library has released a beautiful hardcover edition collecting all of his short stor For anyone who’s grown up in the United States, you’ve more than likely been exposed to Mark Twain in one form or another, whether it’s having read one or more of his books in high school, seeing a biographical story about him on TV, or hearing one of the many hundreds of references about him; to many his is the quintessential “Great American Author.” And just a little over a century after his passing, Everyman’s Library has released a beautiful hardcover edition collecting all of his short stories. What makes these different stories compared to his novels? Twain is freer and seems to have more fun with his short stories, being more uproarious, satirical and rollicking in the short prose than with the long. This is the Twain that many may not be as familiar with, but it is well worth the read. There is the strange tale of “The Facts in the Great Beef Contract” about a debt owed to a family by the US government for beef, and how as each family member passes without the payment being fulfilled, the next member ventures forth to try and get back what was owed. There is the famous “Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” set in the familiar Northern Californian “Angel’s Camp.” “Journalism in Tennessee” is about a journalist taking on the agriculture section of a local newspaper, even though he knows nothing about farming, and proceeds to spew complete lies and fiction, incurring the ire of the local farmers. Collectingall of Mark Twain’s sixty short stories, this collection shows the great author’s full breath from writing entertaining fiction, to travel pieces, to contemplative nonfiction; the only problem is that at times the line between fiction and reality becomes somewhat blurred. But with Twain’s conversational and comforting voice, readers will be welcomed and taken on a truly great adventure. Originally written on September 13, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander. For more reviews, check out Bookbanter.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    **This is a review for the Everyman's Library hardcover edition, with an introduction by Adam Gopnik. I don't know if it's because I'm Canadian and Mark Twain is more an American staple, but I'd never really been exposed to his work. I know of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but by name only. So I figured reading this collection of short stories would give me a good idea of Mark Twain as a writer. That said, the 60 stories collected are mostly of the comedy genre, some being downright irreverent. **This is a review for the Everyman's Library hardcover edition, with an introduction by Adam Gopnik. I don't know if it's because I'm Canadian and Mark Twain is more an American staple, but I'd never really been exposed to his work. I know of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but by name only. So I figured reading this collection of short stories would give me a good idea of Mark Twain as a writer. That said, the 60 stories collected are mostly of the comedy genre, some being downright irreverent. Some stories were written in late 19th century, others in early 20th century, and they seem to be collected in the order in which they were written. Most of the stories I enjoyed, though there were a few that I couldn't get into and couldn't wait to finish (just to get to the next one). Of course some stories stood out more than others, my favourites being: The Notorious Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County Cannibalism In The Cars Journalism In Tennessee A Medieval Romance A Trial Experience Of The McWilliamses With The Membranous Croup The Canvasser's Tale Mrs. McWilliams And The Lightning The McWilliamses And The Burglar Alarm The Diary Of Adam And Eve The Esquimau Maiden's Romance The £1,000,000 Bank Note The Death Disk Two Little Tales The Five Boons Of Life A Dog's Tale The Mysterious Stranger Which is not to say that the rest aren't any good, far from it, but these are the ones that I enjoyed reading most (even more so the ones in bold), The Death Disk getting top honours. It was a great pleasure for me to discover Mark Twain, as well as his very accurate insight into human nature. If you haven't read Mark Twain yet (or much, aside from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or even The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), you should give this book a look. Because its contents are so varied, you are sure to find something to your liking in this collection. I myself will be looking into Pudd'nhead Wilson, then possibly into the two classics mentioned above.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I started reading this collection as my bedtime reading just after the start of the new year; it took me this long to read the book because Mark Twain wrote a lot of short fiction. I very much enjoyed my reading, and only wish that Twain had not become somewhat bitter as he grew older. The Introduction to the volume, by Charles Neider, is rather dated (written in 1957), but a good preface to Twain’s writing. The stories begin, of course, with “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, and I started reading this collection as my bedtime reading just after the start of the new year; it took me this long to read the book because Mark Twain wrote a lot of short fiction. I very much enjoyed my reading, and only wish that Twain had not become somewhat bitter as he grew older. The Introduction to the volume, by Charles Neider, is rather dated (written in 1957), but a good preface to Twain’s writing. The stories begin, of course, with “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, and continue with such gems as “My Watch”, “The Story of the Old Ram, ” “Playing Courier”, “The £1,000,000 Bank-Note”, ”A Horse’s Tale,” and “Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven”. Twain suffered a great deal of pain in his later years, from repeated bankruptcies and the death of his daughter; and this pain shows in his latter stories, which, to put it mildly, are not as lighthearted as the earlier works. They are still good stories, but with a very definite darkness, as shown especially in “The $30,000 Bequest”, “A Dog’s Tale”, “The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg,”, and “Was it Heaven? Or Hell?”. I loved reading all of these stories, even the dark ones, and can say without reservation that this collection of Twain short stories was dandy bedtime reading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Unless you are a Twain completist, sampling a few of these stories over the course of their publication should be sufficient. These stories are mostly humorous sketches and are not particularly ambitious. Several of the stories were excerpted from the travel books as representing self-sufficient episodes. Of course Twain's exuberance, skill for capturing dialect, and his disdain for hypocrites is well represented. Some of the later stories towards the end of his life are quite cynical. As an older Unless you are a Twain completist, sampling a few of these stories over the course of their publication should be sufficient. These stories are mostly humorous sketches and are not particularly ambitious. Several of the stories were excerpted from the travel books as representing self-sufficient episodes. Of course Twain's exuberance, skill for capturing dialect, and his disdain for hypocrites is well represented. Some of the later stories towards the end of his life are quite cynical. As an older man he had suffered financial problems and the death of close family members. Some of these stories are grim and uncompromising in their view of humanity.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Spencer

    Last January I made a list of books I wanted to read this year. I came to the realization that I was pretty much in the dark when it came to Twain's short stories. December rolled around and I had still not tackled this 814 page tome. Well, I finally did it! This collection is conveniently arranged by date of publication, from 1865 through 1916, 6 years after his death. Haley's comet was visible from earth in 1835 when Samuel Clemens was born. It was next visible in 1910, the year he died. Some Last January I made a list of books I wanted to read this year. I came to the realization that I was pretty much in the dark when it came to Twain's short stories. December rolled around and I had still not tackled this 814 page tome. Well, I finally did it! This collection is conveniently arranged by date of publication, from 1865 through 1916, 6 years after his death. Haley's comet was visible from earth in 1835 when Samuel Clemens was born. It was next visible in 1910, the year he died. Some say that his life was characterized by the orbit of a comet. In his lifetime he saw the advent of the Transcontinental RR, completion of the Suez Canal, the Civil War, the transatlantic telegraph, the telephone, electric lights, the phonograph, the typewriter, the dictaphone, motion pictures and the airplane. He incorporated many of these technologies into his novels and short stories ,and he used most of them in the writing process. The telephone was invented in 1874, and just two years later he wrote "The Loves of Alonzo Fitz Clarence and Rossanah Ethelton". He imagined a long distance romance between New York and California, and eventually Hawaii. A jealous rival wiretaps the phone lines and listens in on conversations and sends fake messages, foreshadowing many of the events of today. Transcontinental phone calls were not possible until nearly 40 years later, well after Twain's death.His stories use a great variety of time, place, and points of view. We can read a story that takes place in ancient Rome, Renaissance Europe, or current day in Heaven. He writes from the point of view of a dog, a horse, or a dead man.He is known for capturing all the foibles of man. We see greed, jealousy, lying, theft, murder, and just plain foolishness. We see Twain, as he is in his final years, becoming more bitter and pessimistic about the future of mankind. He questions the existence of God, and the concepts of Heaven and Hell that go along with it."The Mysterious Stranger", published posthumously in 1916, is his last short story. It touches on metaphysics, God, and a bit of science fiction.I have read the short stories of Guy de Maupassant, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Chekhov, and Hemingway. None can compare with Twain in variety, scope and humor.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    I've read this cheap collection so long that the paper has yellowed. And I shall probably pick it up from time to time, still seeking some wheat among the chaff. But It's mostly chaff. In fact, Twain wasn't that good. He was hailed in his day as insightful and witty, but mostly he was cynical--and we have that in spades today. He did adept at spotting curious or potentially informative situations, but--I assume he was paid by word count--extends the telling so long as to ruin the effect. I would I've read this cheap collection so long that the paper has yellowed. And I shall probably pick it up from time to time, still seeking some wheat among the chaff. But It's mostly chaff. In fact, Twain wasn't that good. He was hailed in his day as insightful and witty, but mostly he was cynical--and we have that in spades today. He did adept at spotting curious or potentially informative situations, but--I assume he was paid by word count--extends the telling so long as to ruin the effect. I would encourage the Twain reader to seek The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Beyond the stories drawn from his youth, Twain was a bitter man. It was only okay.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris - Quarter Press Editor

    It took months, and I read a few books in between, but I finally finished this one. It amazes me how different today's short stories are compared to those of the past. In some ways, I'm glad for the change, and in others--I'm tending to agree with Bradbury more and more: Many are simply slice-of-life garbage. Twain knew how to tell a story--I would've loved to HEAR him do so. His voice is so strong, yet he can change it with the drop of a hat. He can make you laugh and cry within the same page, It took months, and I read a few books in between, but I finally finished this one. It amazes me how different today's short stories are compared to those of the past. In some ways, I'm glad for the change, and in others--I'm tending to agree with Bradbury more and more: Many are simply slice-of-life garbage. Twain knew how to tell a story--I would've loved to HEAR him do so. His voice is so strong, yet he can change it with the drop of a hat. He can make you laugh and cry within the same page, and his food for thought is much deeper and more profound than much of what I've been reading from contemporary authors. I never really wanted to read Twain, then I finally took a chance on Huckleberry Finn. Since then, he's quickly becoming one of my favorites. If you haven't read Twain, do yourself a favor, get over your bias and read him. It is good.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    How much Mark Twain is too much? Eight hundred and fourteen pages is not too much. I have decided that of Satan-meddling-with-the-world-stories, I prefer "The Mysterious Stranger" to _The Master and Margarita_. How much Mark Twain is too much? Eight hundred and fourteen pages is not too much. I have decided that of Satan-meddling-with-the-world-stories, I prefer "The Mysterious Stranger" to _The Master and Margarita_.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Darnell

    These were an interesting read, but I'm not sure how to rate them. They felt surprisingly modern in comparison to early 1900s work I've read. Many of the stories are highly topical, in the sense that they're heavily about issues of Twain's day, which means they feel dated now. I probably would have enjoyed reading his column if we were contemporaneous. These were an interesting read, but I'm not sure how to rate them. They felt surprisingly modern in comparison to early 1900s work I've read. Many of the stories are highly topical, in the sense that they're heavily about issues of Twain's day, which means they feel dated now. I probably would have enjoyed reading his column if we were contemporaneous.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chef

    "You can find in a text whatever you bring, if you will stand between it and the mirror of your imagination." "You can find in a text whatever you bring, if you will stand between it and the mirror of your imagination."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    This was a lot of fun to read, although many of the stories I had already read in "The Mysterious Stranger and Other Tales" and "The Bible According to Mark Twain." My only complaint about this is that the stories are presented as chronologically as possible - which is all well and good, but as Twain got older and his writing progressed, he also got more and more bitter. So, as a read, it starts off hilarious and fun and light-hearted and then, about halfway through, the stories start getting mor This was a lot of fun to read, although many of the stories I had already read in "The Mysterious Stranger and Other Tales" and "The Bible According to Mark Twain." My only complaint about this is that the stories are presented as chronologically as possible - which is all well and good, but as Twain got older and his writing progressed, he also got more and more bitter. So, as a read, it starts off hilarious and fun and light-hearted and then, about halfway through, the stories start getting more and more depressing. Possibly the best (or the worst, depending on how you look at it) are "A Dog's Tale" and "A Horses Tale" which start off so magnificently, but end in such a crushing depression. Just when you think a happy ending is coming, nope! Death and dismay. Still, you can't love Mark Twain without appreciating his dark side as well, so I still loved reading this. :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Oden

    One of the shames of literature in our era is that Mark Twain is primarily taught as and known for his novels, especially Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Now, I'll tell you straight, I found Tom Sawyer boring and Huck Finn almost unreadable. Twain was a decent novelist. His travel nonfiction books are better. He was an amazing short story writer. If you haven't read Twain's short stories you are missing out on his true brilliance, insight, wit, and ability. "Some Learned Fables, For Good Old Boys And One of the shames of literature in our era is that Mark Twain is primarily taught as and known for his novels, especially Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Now, I'll tell you straight, I found Tom Sawyer boring and Huck Finn almost unreadable. Twain was a decent novelist. His travel nonfiction books are better. He was an amazing short story writer. If you haven't read Twain's short stories you are missing out on his true brilliance, insight, wit, and ability. "Some Learned Fables, For Good Old Boys And Girls" and "Captain Stormfield's visit to Heaven" are a couple of my favorites, though there are a good many others I can read again and again.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Beland

    I have loved Mark Twains stories for a long as I can remember. I absolutely love is collection. There's only one story that I couldn't really get into and that's Mysterious Stranger. I highly recommend buying two copies one for yourself to read over and over and another one to loan out. I've convinced many people who told me they didn't like Twain because of the stories they had to read in school to give him another try by having them read The Diary of Adam and Eve, the Story of the Good Little I have loved Mark Twains stories for a long as I can remember. I absolutely love is collection. There's only one story that I couldn't really get into and that's Mysterious Stranger. I highly recommend buying two copies one for yourself to read over and over and another one to loan out. I've convinced many people who told me they didn't like Twain because of the stories they had to read in school to give him another try by having them read The Diary of Adam and Eve, the Story of the Good Little Boy, The Story of the Bad Little Boy, or other such writings to give Twain another try & they have all thanked me for it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David

    Mark Twain is a very inconsistent author to me. At times, he is brilliant, as I love 3 of his novels. Other times, his work just doesn't resonate with me. Case in point: I've now read the short story "The Celebrated (Notorious) Jumping Frog of Calaveras Country" three times and still couldn't fully recap the story. The ones in this collection I really enjoyed were: The Stolen White Elephant, A Ghost Story, The Diary of Adam and Eve (absolutely brilliant!), The £$1,000,000 Bank-Note, The Man That Mark Twain is a very inconsistent author to me. At times, he is brilliant, as I love 3 of his novels. Other times, his work just doesn't resonate with me. Case in point: I've now read the short story "The Celebrated (Notorious) Jumping Frog of Calaveras Country" three times and still couldn't fully recap the story. The ones in this collection I really enjoyed were: The Stolen White Elephant, A Ghost Story, The Diary of Adam and Eve (absolutely brilliant!), The £$1,000,000 Bank-Note, The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, Two Little Tales, and A Horse's Tale. None of the rest were bad, but were just forgettable.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Strange

    What a range--from fun adventure to humorous, gently satirical stories, to bitingly bitter pieces from a "pen warmed up in hell" ! These stories really show Twain in all of his moods, and are really fun reading. What a range--from fun adventure to humorous, gently satirical stories, to bitingly bitter pieces from a "pen warmed up in hell" ! These stories really show Twain in all of his moods, and are really fun reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Everett

    I have read this book several times. It is undoubtedly the funniest book I have ever read (parts of it) I would lay in bed crying it was so funny. The same thing when I read it the second time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Marshall

    I love Mark Twains' wit. The way he spins sarcasm and humor makes him one of my favorite writers of all time. I would love to have met this great man! I love Mark Twains' wit. The way he spins sarcasm and humor makes him one of my favorite writers of all time. I would love to have met this great man!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jane Bozman

    I have a set of these stories passed down from my great grandfather--the COMPLETE in this title is one of Twain's clever little jokes. I have a set of these stories passed down from my great grandfather--the COMPLETE in this title is one of Twain's clever little jokes.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Now these are stories to live by. Morality and humor. My type of guy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mya

    classic tale but writing has disoriented anyway

  28. 4 out of 5

    Colby

    Seriously, how can you give this anything less than five stars?

  29. 5 out of 5

    An Odd1

    When newspapers serials sell by "continues ..", authors yank up guffaws, groans, titters, tears, tack on more, and more. Start silly #54 "My father was a St Bernard, my mother was a colllie, but I am a Presbyterian" p 489. End sad "the humble little friend is gone where go the beasts that perish 1903" p 497. Begin #51 with an abused wife, add bloodhound specially-abled son who writes her letters of vengeance, push chase over the edge of cliff onto wrong target, slap on Sherlock Holmes, string hi When newspapers serials sell by "continues ..", authors yank up guffaws, groans, titters, tears, tack on more, and more. Start silly #54 "My father was a St Bernard, my mother was a colllie, but I am a Presbyterian" p 489. End sad "the humble little friend is gone where go the beasts that perish 1903" p 497. Begin #51 with an abused wife, add bloodhound specially-abled son who writes her letters of vengeance, push chase over the edge of cliff onto wrong target, slap on Sherlock Holmes, string him up by a lynch mob, in rides a sheriff. Likable despite growing like topsy. Better are unpredictable, positive -rare- #43 #46 #50, memorable. Twain questions morality of times, has realistic view of honesty, usually not rewarding goodness. Little girls are angelic #48 #56. Bad boys grow worse #2 #14 #25. Animals can be as narrow-minded as men #22 #28 #59, or smarter #17 #54 #56 #57. Some tales poke fun at foolishness #6 #9 #11, human nature #2 #7 #13 #14, victims of pushy wife #21 #27 #31, con men #1 #4 #5 #12 #32, standard routines #3 #8 #10. Brevity encourages simpleness #1 #11. Is 22-page #40 an excerpt of https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... or smaller font? Most are mixtures; emotions are complicated. #3 sparks when macabre added to boring political hohum. Ghosts are more funny than scary #7 #36. Insanity is more cold than warm #3 #39. Even a basic romance #24 is complicated by telephone wooing and jealousy. Often first person is observer rather than participant - theater scenes, letters, dialect conversation from odd viewpoint. The last century is like another planet, science fiction. Who now would strip to rescue their hat, lose their clothes to a runaway horse #46? Some is full-blown exaggeration #6 #9, credit validity to his experience. Scrape off modern political incorrectness from slave nigger south, and inside we are still the same #2 #4 #5 #8. 60 stories, including 13 from "non-fiction" books. 1 The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County - wins owner's bets till filled with gunshot. 2 The Story of Bad Little Boy - Unlike in books, he triumphs. 3 Cannibalism in the Cars - Madman left in snowstorm imagines democratic senatorial arguments and elections choose meals. 4 A Day at Niagara - brings danger from wet and sightseeing purchases. The "awful savage tribe of Indians that do beadwork and moccasins" are from Limerick, Ireland. 5 The Legend of the Capitoline Venus - In theater scenes, poor sculptor can marry when smart pal mutilates statue to appear ancient. 6 Journalism in Tennessee - Newcomer gets shot, scalped, thrown from window. 7 A Curious Dream - Skeletons leave neglected graveyard. 8 The Facts in the Great Beef Contract - Red tape runaround for decades. 9 How I Edited an Agricultural Paper - Turnips grow on trees and like. 10 A Medieval Romance - 1222 Princess falls in love with girl pretending to be male ruler in Brandenburgh. 11 My Watch - runs worse after every repair. 12 Political Economy - Salesman cons lecture writer into lightning rods until storm creates fireworks. 13 Science vs Luck - Six jurors for Chance win over others in Kentucky sevenup card game. 14 The Story of the Good Little Boy (opposite #2) - all goes wrong. 15 Buck Fanshaw's Funeral - His friend Scotty's slang "help plant him" confuses officiating parson. 16 The Story of the Old Ram - Drunk narrator rambles over relatives, neighbors, never gets to ram. 17 Tom Quartz large grey tomcat 8 "shin out of that hole" to avoid blasts mining quartz. 18 A Trial - insists Capt Ned Blakely, can be held after hanging bully Bill Noakes, because everyone saw him kill Ned's nigger first mate unjustly. 19 The Trials of Simon Erickson - He goes crazy trying to decipher handwriting of Mr Greeley regarding young William's desire to work only with turnips. 20 A True Story - Aunt Rachel 60 recounts how son sold young, when grown up remembered and recognized her from family favorite expletive "I'se one o' de old Blue Hen's Chickens". 21 Experience of the McWilliamses with Membranous Croup - Wife insists child fine to chew on pine stick, forces narrator Mortimer to stay up moving furniture, blames croup. (view spoiler)[ Doctor gives cough syrup that expels splinter. (hide spoiler)] 22 Some Learned Fables for Good Old Boys and Girls - Learned animals send exploration party that determines from ruins that man is extinct. 23 The Canvasser's Tale - Door-to-door salesman tells sob story about bankrupt uncle's echo collection. 24 The Loves of Alonzo Fitz Clarence and Rosannah Ethelton - Maine bachelor in winter falls for off-key song of California cousin by phone. Jealous suitor Burley breaks engagement by impersonation. (view spoiler)[ In despair, travelled to NY, he hears her on phone by chance from Honolulu in nick of time day before wedding to Burley. (hide spoiler)] 25 Edward Mills and George Benton: A Tale - Honorable Ed always hurt by bad George, from babes till killed when bank burgled. 26 The Man Who Put Up at Gadsby's - Newspaperman Riley scares off teacher Lykins from rushing job application by tale of "old patriarch" now, who was young when stopping off at same hotel to get quick claim refund. 27 Mrs McWilliams and the Lightning - Wife afraid of storm nags hubby to absurd methods. 28 What Stumped the Bluejays - Flock puzzled by one who drops nuts to fill house. 29 A Curious Experience - Commander of Fort Trumbull tells how Confed boy skilled imagination disrupts town, has him arrest innocents as traitors. 30 The Invalid's Story - Old Limburger cheese smell on box of guns mistaken for friend's corpse sent narrator (41 two years ago, looks old 60) and train expressman outside to cold, broke their health. 31 The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... 32 The Stolen White Elephant - Narrator loses position and all money to dishonest detective for ransom. (view spoiler)[ Inspector knew Hassan already dead from injuries, telegrams and reports false. (hide spoiler)] 33 A Burning Brand - Narrator convinced by fake sad letter from educated burglar, intended to hoax public into releasing prisoner early. 34 A Dying Man's Confession - Karl Ritter expires after giving narrator location of fortune, explaining how he mistakenly killed the defender of his murdered wife and babe, instead of their killer. His fellow boat passengers convince him to keep the money, not pass on as per Ritter's last request. (view spoiler)[ Town of Napoleon flooded 25 years ago, impossible to retrieve stash. (hide spoiler)] 35 The Professor's Yarn - When younger on steamboat, befriended by cattle dealer Backus, he avoids crooked gamblers, tries to extract cattleman Backus, who befriended him. (view spoiler)[ Backus is pro who cons all the others. (hide spoiler)] 36 A Ghost Story - Narrator woken by ghost of Cardiff giant accidentally breaking furniture, haunts across the road from inn, wanting proper burial for body. (view spoiler)[ Petrified Man corpse moved across state, only plaster cast remains in museum. (hide spoiler)] 37 Luck - raises fool to be decorated hero, so pastor who helped him succeed reveals to narrator at banquet. 38 Playing Courier - Scatter-brained narrator volunteers to fill in as group's travel guide; taxis and walks hither thither; wastes time, money; fails at job. 39 The Californian's Tale - Prospecting 35 years ago, he meets old man who expects beloved wife home soon, worries she is late. (view spoiler)[ Only three pals left of many to pretend she still will return when really killed by Injuns day of return years ago, husband gone crazy, especially on anniversary of her death. (hide spoiler)] 40 The Diary of Adam and Eve - Opposite points of view from first man and strange newcomer cannot understand the other, but end up faithful, loving. 41 The Esquimau Maiden's Romance - Amid blubber banquet, "plump .. most bewitching girl in her tribe" falls for stranger Kalula, drowned after accused of stealing one from father's enviable fortune of 22 iron fish hooks. (view spoiler)[ Nine months later, Lasca finds hook when maidens comb hair at Great Annual Sacrifice. (hide spoiler)] 42 Is He Living or Is He Dead? Riviera guest points out another, relates tale of youth when fellow artists in rural France draw lots to fake death of one so raise worth of paintings. (view spoiler)[ "Another" is under new name after chosen to fake death. (hide spoiler)] 43 The £1,000,000 Bank-Note - American 27 reduced to penury in London, narrator invited by two nobles who loan him a large bill, promptly leave the country for a month. (view spoiler)[ Unable to give change, vendors spread rumors of riches. He rises in society, makes a fortune, marries daughter of one benefactor. (hide spoiler)] 44 Cecil Rhodes and the Shark - Swallowed London newspaper reporting war and raised wool prices makes Cecil's fortune in Australia. 45 The Joke That Made Ed's Fortune - Jokers give Ed fake letter of introduction to rich Mr Vanderbilt, who entrusts and employs honest simpleton. 46 A Story Without an End - Shy John Brown dresses up, strips to swim after best hat, wraps blanket on lower limbs when horse runs off with clothes. When his beloved's mother reaches for his cover -- what happens next? 47 The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg - Mistreated stranger takes revenge on haughty town by promising fortune to whoever knows words, but targets worst citizens with secret letter so they cheat. Confusing ending when old Mary and Edward Richards rewarded anyway, and dying get innocent Mr Burgess in trouble again. 48 The Death Disk of different color was given by a daughter, angelic in blonde curls, specially to her father, one of three Colonels to exceed superior's orders and win the battle. Supposedly from Carlyle's Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell. (view spoiler)[ Cromwell promises to obey the lisping little girl, so must save her papa. (hide spoiler)] 49 Two Little Tales - Narrator tells his inventor friend who wants the ear of a senior official how Tommy, the night-soil man's son, passes an important message via each most entrusted friend finally to the Emporer. 50 The Belated Russian Passport - The Major who knows "everyone", convinces homesick tourist Alfred to make last stop at St Petersburg, fatal without passport and consul's assistant is stranger. (view spoiler)[ Secretary was artist whose painting in lieu of rent was cursed by Alf's minister father, so the son does not admit the connection until too late - almost, Major set clock back unnoticed. (hide spoiler)] 51 A Double-Barreled Detective Story - A wife stripped and beaten runs away, changes her name, and instills vengeance in her son, who has a supernatural sniffer. Archy, unwilling but loyal, pursues the wrong man, then cannot catch up to the bully's cousin to compensate for harassment. Surprisingly, in secluded mining village, Holmes is accused of killing evil Flint Buckner, who abused Sherlock's nephew Fetlock Jones. (view spoiler)[ Fetlock killed Flint, Archy's father. (hide spoiler)] 52 The Five Boons of Life are Fame, Love, Riches, Pleasure, Death, offered by good fairy to youth, who keeps making the wrong choice. (view spoiler)[ She gives last to innocent child who asks her to choose for him, leaving man "the wanton insult of Old Age". (hide spoiler)] 53 Was It Heaven? Or Hell - Where do maiden aunts go after life ended caring for widow Margaret 36 and her daughter Helen 16, who both die of consumption, change their minds about lies 54 A Dog's Tale - Mr Gray lames her after she saves baby from fire, then kills her pup and her. Starts funny gets sad. 55 The $30,000 Bequest - For two years, not knowing their relation died, Sally dreams of investing, husband Aleck of spending. (view spoiler)[Tilbury was a pauper, left nothing. (hide spoiler)] 56 A Horse's Tale - Like #54 from Dog, Buffalo Bill's Soldier Boy, and letters, tell of Cathy, adopted orphan grandaughter of General Alison, who wins over Fort like #48 Cromwell's angel. The ending is a tear-jerker shock. (view spoiler)[ Seeing broken-down Soldier Boy, Cathy runs out, gored by bull. (hide spoiler)] 57 Hunting the Deceitful Turkey https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... 58 Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven - Races with a comet enroute, lands at wrong gate, realizes palm frond, harp, and halo are useless, finally follows advice of McWilliams to stay same age, Sandy to save wings for special occasions like on Earth, where archangels avoid autograph hunters. 59 A Fable - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... 60 The Mysterious Stranger p 599 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Todd Stockslager

    Review title: Money changes everything Mark Twain as both a cultural artifact, a historical figure, and a writer has survived over a century after his death as a remarkably consistent and modern commentator and thinker. Yes, while his most common perception and adopted voice is that of the home spun humorist, Twain is revealed in his bibliography as a serious thinker using humorous forms. This collection of his short stories shows the breadth of his reach. While some of these were written and pub Review title: Money changes everything Mark Twain as both a cultural artifact, a historical figure, and a writer has survived over a century after his death as a remarkably consistent and modern commentator and thinker. Yes, while his most common perception and adopted voice is that of the home spun humorist, Twain is revealed in his bibliography as a serious thinker using humorous forms. This collection of his short stories shows the breadth of his reach. While some of these were written and published as traditional stand-alone short stories, some were embedded as chapters or picaresque asides in other Twain books such as Roughing it or Following the Equator. Twain was an early adopter of technology, being one of the first to use a typewriter for his writing, and also an early investor in technology, some of which failed and gave him. Incentive to write to recoup his losses and make a living. So much the better for us! One outcome of this technology fixation was his 1878 piece "The Loves of Alonzo Fiz Clarence and Rosannah Ethelton" (p. 127-143), which involves the use of the telephone for a long-distance romance--and the early and eerily prescient problem of data privacy and security. Twain was ahead of his time in recognizing social change as well. "The Man that Corrupted Hadleysburg", one of the longer and better known stories here, touches on what we would call "fake news" today, relying on the then-new networking technology of the telegraph and the Associated Press to spread the "click bait" far beyond the reach of one small town. His stories often hinge on setups that test the best--and the worst--instincts of human nature, and both are sometimes the winners. As they are arranged here in chronological order as originally published, we can watch the maturation of the writer. Some of his early stories rely on the supernatural and read like Poe or Dickens, but when Twain is speaking in his own avuncular and sometimes rough-edged voice he is the most eloquent. My review title reflects the frequent references that these stories make to money--how we earn it, spend it, fret over it, fight over it, how it changes our morality, personality and our very soul. Money and the influence of morality (true, false, spiritual, or profane) are indeed the very spiritual core of these stories. Twain in his plain story-telling way says profound things about deep subjects even as we laugh at and with those he writes about, realizing with a wry nod and bittersweet smile that they are us.

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