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Book Title: What Is Man?|
The author of the book: Mark Twain
ISBN 13: 9780195101546
Format files: PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
The size of the: 35.82 MB
Edition: Oxford University Press, USA
Date of issue: December 5th 1996
Reader ratings: 5.6
Loaded: 368 times
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What Is Man? is Mark Twain's skeptical assessment of free will, and determinism, religious belief, and the nature of humanity. He put off publishing it for 25 years, and then released it anonymously in a limited edition of 250 copies. The book takes the form of a Socratic dialogue between a romantic young idealist and an elderly cynic, who debate such issues as whether man is a machine or a free actor, whether personal merit is meaningless given how our environment shapes who we are, and whether man has any impulse other than pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. As readers "we listen attentively, leaning forward in our chairs," Charles Johnson writes in his introduction, weighing on our own such statements as the Old Man's claim that "No man ever originates anything.... Men observe and combine, that is all. So does a rat." Linda Wagner-Martin, in the afterword, sees the ideas expressed in this volume as "a thread that runs through even the lightest of Mark Twain's fiction, the calmest of his memoirs; and as the questioning hook that may provide a rationale for his becoming a writer in the first place."
Read information about the authorSamuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).
Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to his older brother Orion's newspaper. After toiling as a printer in various cities, he became a master riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River, before heading west to join Orion. He was a failure at gold mining, so he next turned to journalism. While a reporter, he wrote a humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," which proved to be very popular and brought him nationwide attention. His travelogues were also well-received. Twain had found his calling.
He achieved great success as a writer and public speaker. His wit and satire earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.
However, he lacked financial acumen. Though he made a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, he squandered it on various ventures, in particular the Paige Compositor, and was forced to declare bankruptcy. With the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers, however, he eventually overcame his financial troubles. Twain worked hard to ensure that all of his creditors were paid in full, even though his bankruptcy had relieved him of the legal responsibility.
Born during a visit by Halley's Comet, he died on its return. He was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age", and William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature".
Excerpted from Wikipedia.
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