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The wit & wisdom of Mark Twain
Twain, Mark, 1835-1910.
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Publication Information:
New York : Meridian, [1989]

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xi, 265 pages ; 21 cm
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PS1303 .A97 1987C Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS1303 .A97 1987C Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Arranged alphabetically by topic, from Adam to Youth, and culled from his novels, speeches, letters, and conversations, this anthology of quotes is timeless and represents the very essence of Mark Twain -- hilarious, cranky, and insightful.

Author Notes

Mark Twain was born Samuel L. Clemens in Florida, Missouri on November 30, 1835. He worked as a printer, and then became a steamboat pilot. He traveled throughout the West, writing humorous sketches for newspapers. In 1865, he wrote the short story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which was very well received. He then began a career as a humorous travel writer and lecturer, publishing The Innocents Abroad in 1869, Roughing It in 1872, and, Gilded Age in 1873, which was co-authored with Charles Dudley Warner. His best-known works are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mississippi Writing: Life on the Mississippi, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

In terms of quotability, Mark Twain is the American Shakespeare. He's not as lyrical as the bard of Avon, but he's funnier, his cynicism suiting the modern temperament more than Shakespeare's passion. Editor Ayres provides systematic access to plenty of Twain's bon mots by arranging them in a dictionary of topics from Adam to youth (he apparently had nothing to say about zebras, Zeno's paradox, or Zoroaster). Where background is needed, Ayres supplies it succinctly and, as an afterword, proffers ``What Mark Twain might say today'' on such ponderables as communism, extraterrestrial intelligence, the national debt, terrorism, and the unborn. Much to Ayres' credit, many of these approximations sound markedly Twainian. Bibliography. RO. 818'.402 Twain, Mark Quotations [OCLC] 87-45020



The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain A Adam It all began with Adam. He was the first man to tell a joke -- or a lie. "How lucky Adam was," Mark Twain wrote enviously in his notebook in 1867. "He knew when he said a good thing, nobody had said it before." Adam was not alone in the Garden of Eden, however, and does not deserve all the credit; much is due to Eve, the first woman, and Satan, the first consultant. Adam was but human -- this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent. -- Pudd'nhead Wilson , 1894, ch. 2 Adam was the author of sin, and I wish he had taken out an international copyright on it. -- Notebook, 1877 What I cannot help wishing is that Adam and Eve had been postponed, and Martin Luther and Joan of Arc put in their placethat splendid pair equipped with temperaments not made of butter, but of asbestos. By neither sugary persuasions nor by hell fire could Satan have beguiled them to eat the apple. -- "The Turning Point of My Life," essay, 1910 Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principal one was that they escaped teething. -- Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894, ch. 4 Adam and Eve entered the world naked and unashamed -- naked and pure-minded; and no descendant of theirs has ever entered it otherwise. All have entered it naked, unashamed, and clean in mind. They have entered it modest. They had to acquire immodesty and the soiled mind; there was no other way to get it. -- Satan, in DeVoto, Letters from the Earth , 1962, Letter 3 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. -- Adam, in "Adam's Diary," story, 1893 Wheresoever she was, there was Eden. -- Adam at Eve's grave, in "Adam's Diary," story, 1893 Adjective As to the Adjective: when in doubt, strike it out. -- Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894, ch. 11 Adultery "Thou shalt not commit adultery" is a command which makes no distinction between the following persons. They are all required to obey it: children at birth. Children in the cradle. School children. Youths and maidens. Fresh adults. Older ones. Men and women of 40. Of 50. Of 60. Of 70. Of 80. Of 90. Of 100. The command does not distribute its burden equally, and cannot. It is not hard upon the three sets of children. -- Satan, in DeVoto, Letters from the Earth , 1962, Letter 8 By temperament, which is the real law of God, many men are goats and can't help committing adultery when they get a chance; whereas there are numbers of men who, by temperament, can keep their purity and let an opportunity go by if the woman lacks in attractiveness. -- Satan, in DeVoto, Letters from the Earth , 1962, Letter 8 Adversity By trying, we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man's, I mean. -- Following the Equator , 1897, vpl. 2, ch, 3 The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain . Copyright © by Alex Ayres . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain by Alex Ayres All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.