"Why, you simple creatures, the weakest of all weak things is a virtue which has not been tested in the fire." Written on hotel stationary while in Europe on the run from American creditors, soon after the death of a daughter, The Man That Corrupted Handleyburg is often cited as a work of bitter cynicism—a statement on America, to some, on the Dreyfus Case, to others—created by a weary author at the end of his career. Another appreciation, however, is that it is, simply, Mark Twain at his best. The story of a mysterious stranger who orchestrates a fraud embarrassing the hypocritical citizens of "incorruptible" Hadleyburg. The novella is an exceptionally crafted work intertwining a devious and suspenseful plot with some of the wittiest dialogue Twain ever wrote. And like the most masterful literature, it subverts any notion of easy conclusion: is Hadleyburg ruined, or liberated? Is the mysterious stranger Satan, or a hero? Is this a book of revenge, or redemption? One thing is clear: This brilliant novella is a complex and compassionate consideration of the human character by a master at the height of his form. The Art of The Novella Series Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
A superb short story set in the fictional town of Hadleyburg, famous for the honesty and sincerity of its citizens. Events take an unexpected turn when a mysterious stranger, Robert Preston, arrives in town carrying a sack of gold. The story reveals how the apparently earnest people lie and deceive each other in order to claim the gold but end up revealing their true colours. A must-read!
Purchase one of 1st World Library's Classic Books and help support our free internet library of downloadable eBooks. 1st World Library-Literary Society is a non-profit educational organization. Visit us online at www.1stWorldLibrary.ORG - - It was many years ago. Hadleyburg was the most honest and upright town in all the region round about. It had kept that reputation unsmirched during three generations, and was prouder of it than of any other of its possessions. It was so proud of it, and so anxious to insure its perpetuation, that it began to teach the principles of honest dealing to its babies in the cradle, and made the like teachings the staple of their culture thenceforward through all the years devoted to their education. Also, throughout the formative years temp-tations were kept out of the way of the young people, so that their honesty could have every chance to harden and solidify, and become a part of their very bone. The neighbouring towns were jealous of this honourable supremacy, and affected to sneer at Hadleyburg's pride in it and call it vanity; but all the same they were obliged to acknowledge that Hadleyburg was in reality an incorruptible town; and if pressed they would also acknowledge that the mere fact that a young man hailed from Hadleyburg was all the recommendation he needed when he went forth from his natal town to seek for responsible employment.
Curl up with a collection of stories from the pen of one of the masters of American fiction and humor writing. This carefully curated volume of Twain's short stories represents a cross-section of some the author's finest work, including the title piece, which follows a stranger's plot to corrupt a purportedly honest community.
Excerpt ive him the money, and ask no further questions, for he is certainly the right man. "But if you shall prefer a public inquiry, then publish this present writing in the local paper--with these instructions added, to wit: Thirty days from now, let the candidate appear at the town-hall at eight in the evening (Friday), and hand his remark, in a sealed envelope, to the Rev. Mr. Burgess (if he will be kind enough to act); and let Mr. Burgess there and then destroy the seals of the sack, open it, and see if the remark is correct: if correct, let the money be delivered, with my sincere gratitude, to my benefactor thus identified." Mrs. Richards sat down, gently quivering with excitement, and was soon lost in thinkings--after this pattern: "What a strange thing it is! . . . And what a fortune for that kind man who set his bread afloat upon the waters! . . . If it had only been my husband that did it!--for we are so poor, so old and poor! . . ." Then, with a sigh--"But it was not my Edward; no, it was no
The wit and wisdom of the noted American author are illustrated in fifteen autobiographical, satirical, and romantic selections
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), better known by the pen name Mark Twain, was an American humorist, satirist, lecturer and writer. Twain is most noted for his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). He is also known for his quotations. His first important work, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, was published in 1865. His next publication was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which drew on his youth in Hannibal. The character of Tom Sawyer was modeled on twain as a child, with traces of two schoolmates, John Briggs and Will Bowen. His next major published work, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, solidified him as a noteworthy American writer. Some have called it the first Great American Novel. Finn was an offshoot from Tom Sawyer and proved to have a more serious tone than its predecessor. The main premise behind Huckleberry Finn is the young boy's belief in the right thing to do even though the majority of society believes that it was wrong.
The title novella in this sparkling collection is one of Twain's most deadly satires, about civic vice disguised as virtue and its devasting consequences. Any volume of Twain's shorter pieces makes excellent reading. Here was a writer who could make any conceivable subject entertaining and often profound. Also included are "My Debut as a Literary Person," "The Esquimau Maiden's Romance," "A Double-Barreled Detective Story," a notable SHERLOCK HOLMES parody, and many more.
Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894), written in a more sombre vein than his other Mississippi writings, was Mark Twain's last serious work of fiction. It reveals the sinister forces that, towards the end of his life, Twain thought to be threatening the American dream. The central plot revolves around the tragedy of "Roxy," a mulatto slave whose attempt to save her son from his fate succeeds only in destroying him. An astringent work which raises the serious issue of racial difference, Pudd'nhead Wilson is considered by the critic F.R. Leavis to be "a classic of the use of popular modes--the sensational and the melodramatic." The volume also includes two other late works by Twain, Those Extraordinary Twins and The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg. About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.