The Innocents Abroad -- Mark Twain

I discovered this book quite by accident as I was walking the racks in the library. I was familiar with the title (and that of the second publication by Twain in the same volume) but have never come across it in the library before. I immediately picked it up and I am very glad I did. As a youth I read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and really liked those works but these were the first "non-fiction" by Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens b 1835-Nov 30 -- d 1910-Apr 21) that I have read.

I put "non-fiction" in quotes because while Clemens actually was part of a group that took an 1867 round trip cruise from New York to the Holy Land with many side excursions along the way his humor and his hiding of identities of various individuals makes the work something less than the straight unvarnished truth. But not much less. In places he is less than politically correct although as the notes indicate he did remove much of the incorrectness for publication in 1869.

This was the first organized American tour of Europe and Palestine. Where Twain saw ugliness he says it was ugly; and where he saw beauty, he also does not deny it.

As I was reading I kept thinking this section or that section would make a good quote for an EP story. But eventually I realized that there were so many good quotes that it would be best to recommend reading the whole book itself.

One section that really impressed me was his narration of examining the ruins of Pompeii. He was impressed, too, and made me feel his connection with those who lost their lives in the eruptions of Vesuvius in 79 AD.

When the cruise reached the Holy Land a small party traveled overland from Lebanon to Jaffa. Clemens points out using satire and irony some of the incredible claims of monuments in the area. He also summarizes various stories from the Bible that need to be read - like the death of Jezebel - to appreciate Twain's dry wit.
CFOM CFOM
70+, M
4 Responses Jan 8, 2013

That sounds good. And I haven't read those books. I've read Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and the one about life in Heaven. Maybe that one was a short story.

It IS good! and thank you for your reference to the story about life in Heaven. I had not heard of that before. From the Great Wiki:

"Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven" is a short story written by American writer Mark Twain. It first appeared in print in Harper's Magazine in December 1907 and January 1908, and was published in book form with some revisions in 1909. This was the last story published by Twain during his life.

Description and plot outline

The story follows Captain Elias Stormfield on his extremely long cosmic journey to heaven; his accidental misplacement; his short-lived interest in singing and playing the harp (generated by his preconceptions of heaven); and the obsession of souls with the "celebrities" of heaven, like Adam and Moses, who according to Twain become as distant to most people in heaven as living celebrities are on Earth. Twain uses this story to show his view that the common conception of heaven is ludicrous and points out the incongruities of such beliefs.

I'm going to have to read that! I'll see if it's in the library. If not, I'll order from Amazon next month.

Hubby and I enjoyed, REALLY enjoyed, this book together when we were first married. Thanks for posting -- time for a re-read.

There're two books that have changed my life....it started with Dr. Arthur Janov's 1970 book titled, "Primal Scream." This book takes the reader into the the rabbit hole of infancy and calls upon the reader to immerse him/herself in the moments when he/she was a baby calling for his/her parents. It does something to you to go to this needy and helpless place even for just a few minutes. It has over 420 pages of case studies that will relate to everybody.

Later, I came upon one of the analytical industry's most valued "tomes," written by Marie-Louise von Franz... an understudy of CJ Jung's for 30 years. I always say, "and don't tell me she didn't know what she was talking @." This book is titled, "Puer Aeternus." This' Latin for Eternal Boy. Many men in the world suffer from this syndrome, recognizable by "princely" behavior.... demanding, spoiled, childish, importunate, judgmental, never happy with relationships, always moving from one relationship to another.......this' all tied in with the MOTHER PROBLEM and an absent father.

Men, don't tell me there isn't a little boy in there.

Why not post this as a story or two stories in this group.

I'LL CONSIDER THAT, THANK YOU.

Later, I came upon one of the analytical industry's most valued "tomes," written by Marie-Louise von Franz... an understudy of CJ Jung's for 30 years. I always say, "and don't tell me she didn't know what she was talking @." This book is titled, "Puer Aeternus." This' Latin for Eternal Boy. Many men in the world suffer from this syndrome, recognizable by "princely" behavior.... demanding, spoiled, childish, importunate, judgmental, never happy with relationships, always moving from one relationship to another.......this' all tied in with the MOTHER PROBLEM and an absent father.

Men, don't tell me there isn't a little boy in there.

I posted both as separate stories.

I agree w/ CFOM

2 More Responses

Interesting book! I love to read this kind of true story from the Bible it amuse me.

It's not exactly from the Bible as about a trip to see the Holy Land with many side trips along the way. But Twain did travel by mule back from Lebanon to Jaffa and described the various Bible events which occurred at the sites he visited - as well as the less than respectful antics of those with whom he traveled. (Even then vandalism in the name of having a memento was considered OK by many.)