Cover image for Mark Twain's religion
Mark Twain's religion
Phipps, William E., 1930-2010.
Publication Information:
Macon, Ga. : Mercer University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 386 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
"September 2003."

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS1342.R4 P47 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Although there are many studies of America's most famous literary figure, this thorough investigation provides not only new information on Twain's religion, but also a different approach from anything published before. Interpretations of Twain over the past century have been largely the province of literary critics. By skillful textual analysis they have produced an abundance of nuanced studies, but they tend to have little interest in, and knowledge of, the broad religious context of Victorian society, which both angered and intrigued Twain. Phipps provides perceptions often overlooked into the way Clemens's religion was related to such significant issues as racism, imperialism, and materialism. This study takes a close look at his growing up in the slave culture of Missouri Protestants and his subsequent involvement in the radically different abolition culture in which his wire was raised. Like Twain, who aimed at communicating with the common person, Phipps has written in a style that will attract the educated public while providing fresh insights for Twain scholars. His research has taken him to Hannibal, Elmira Hartford, and to the Twain archives in Berkeley. Mostly chronological, the book makes extensive use of Twain's works and, often neglected in such studies on Twain, the Bible, his most important literary source.

Author Notes

William E. Phipps is professor emeritus of religion and philosophy, Davis and Elkins College.

Table of Contents

Dedicationp. viii
Significant Dates for This Studyp. ix
Prefacep. xi
1. Introductionp. 1
Religious or Irreligious?p. 1
The Scope of Religionp. 3
The Approach of This Studyp. 4
2. Along the Mississippip. 7
Parental Influencesp. 7
Growing Up in Hannibalp. 13
Religious Varietiesp. 30
3. Peripatetic Journalistp. 41
To the Pacificp. 41
To the Mediterraneanp. 59
Travel Reflectionsp. 81
4. Amid Liberal Calvinistsp. 89
In New York Statep. 89
In Hartfordp. 111
Relations with Cablep. 134
5. Justice in Americap. 143
Economic Equityp. 143
Political Moralityp. 155
Race Relationsp. 162
Women's Rightsp. 181
6. Ambassador-at-Largep. 187
In Europep. 188
Global Tourp. 194
The Anti-Imperialistp. 202
7. Biblical Usagesp. 221
Jewish Scripturesp. 222
The New Testamentp. 241
Scriptural Allusionsp. 248
8. Theological Journeyp. 263
Views of Godp. 263
Views of Jesusp. 277
Evil and Freedomp. 281
Personal Immortalityp. 299
9. Final Questp. 313
Joan of Arc and Susyp. 313
Search for Healingp. 321
Bittersweet Last Yearsp. 328
10. Conclusionp. 351
Parallel Livesp. 351
Ethics and Truthp. 359
Humorist and Preacherp. 363
The Tolerant Monotheistp. 368
Bibliographyp. 377
Indexp. 383