Letters from the Earth

Letters from the Earth

by Mark Twain

Hardcover(Reprint)

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Overview

Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth is a brilliant and incredibly imaginative take on the story of the Bible itself. Starting with the creation of the Earth, Twain's fresh view on the most basic of Biblical doctrine is objectively approached from the perspective of one without any preconceived religious notions. Composed of prominent figures including Satan himself, the story weaves together a fresh, new slant on God and man. With his sharp wit, Twain examines Heaven and Earth, and characterizes humanity in such an acute manner, that what he purports unanticipatedly seems obvious. After reading this book, you will never look at the Bible or mankind the same.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781615341115
Publisher: EZreads Publications
Publication date: 03/28/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 108
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.38(d)

About the Author

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), best known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an author and humorist noted for the novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (which has been called "The Great American Novel") and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, among many other books. Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, which later provided the setting for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and he spent time as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before finding fame as a writer.

Date of Birth:

November 30, 1835

Date of Death:

April 21, 1910

Place of Birth:

Florida, Missouri

Place of Death:

Redding, Connecticut

Read an Excerpt

Letters from the Earth


By Mark Twain

Amereon Limited

Copyright © 1991 Mark Twain
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0848817702

The Creator sat upon the throne, thinking. Behind him stretched the illimitable continent of heaven, steeped in a glory of light and color; before him rose the black night of Space, like a wall. His mighty bulk towered rugged and mountain-like into the zenith, and His divine head blazed there like a distant sun. At His feet stood three colossal figures, diminished to extinction, almost, by contrast -- archangels -- their heads level with His anklebone.

When the Creator had finished thinking, He said, "I have thought. Behold!"

He lifted His hand, and from it burst a fountain-spray of fire, a million stupendous suns, which clove the blackness and soared, away and away and away, diminishing in magnitude and intensity as they pierced the far frontiers of Space, until at last they were but as diamond nailheads sparkling under the domed vast roof of the universe.

At the end of an hour the Grand Council was dismissed.

They left the Presence impressed and thoughtful, and retired to a private place, where they might talk with freedom. None of the three seemed to want to begin, though all wanted somebody to do it. Each was burning to discuss the great event, but would prefer not to commit himself till he should know how the others regarded it. So there was some aimless and halting conversation about matters of no consequence, and this dragged tediously along, arriving nowhere, until at last the archangel Satan gathered his courage together -- of which he had a very good supply -- and broke ground. He said: "We know what we are here to talk about, my lords, and we may as well put pretense aside, and begin. If this is the opinion of the Council -- "

"It is, it is!" said Gabriel and Michael, gratefully interrupting.

"Very well, then, let us proceed. We have witnessed a wonderful thing; as to that, we are necessarily agreed. As to the value of it -- if it has any -- that is a matter which does not personally concern us. We can have as many opinions about it as we like, and that is our limit. We have no vote. I think Space was well enough, just at it was, and useful, too. Cold and dark -- a restful place, now and then, after a season of the overdelicate climate and trying splendors of heaven. But these are details of no considerable moment; the new feature, the immense feature, is -- what, gentlemen?"

"The invention and introduction of automatic, unsupervised, self-regulating law for the government of those myriads of whirling and racing suns and worlds!"

"That is it!" said Satan. "You perceive that it is a stupendous idea. Nothing approaching it has been evolved from the Master Intellect before. Law -- Automatic Law -- exact and unvarying Law -- requiring no watching, no correcting, no readjusting while the eternities endure! He said those countless vast bodies would plunge through the wastes of Space ages and ages, at unimaginable speed, around stupendous orbits, yet never collide, and never lengthen nor shorten their orbital periods by so much as the hundredth part of a second in two thousand years! That is the new miracle, and the greatest of all -- Automatic Law! And He gave it a name -- the LAW OF NATURE -- and said Natural Law is the LAW OF GOD -- interchangeable names for one and the same thing."

"Yes," said Michael, "and He said He would establish Natural Law -- the Law of God -- throughout His dominions, and its authority should be supreme and inviolable."

"Also," said Gabriel, "He said He would by and by create animals, and place them, likewise, under the authority of that Law."

"Yes," said Satan, "I heard Him, but did not understand. What is animals, Gabriel?"

"Ah, how should I know? How should any of us know? It is a new word."

[Interval of three centuries, celestial time -- the equivalent of a hundred million years, earthly time. Enter a Messenger-Angel.]

"My lords, He is making animals. Will it please you to come and see?"

They went, they saw, and were perplexed. Deeply perplexed -- and the Creator noticed it, and said, "Ask. I will answer."

"Divine One," said Satan, making obeisance, "what are they for?"

"They are an experiment in Morals and Conduct. Observe them, and be instructed."

There were thousands of them. They were full of activities. Busy, all busy -- mainly in persecuting each other. Satan remarked -- after examining one of them through a powerful microscope: "This large beast is killing weaker animals, Divine One."

"The tiger -- yes. The law of his nature is ferocity. The law of his nature is the Law of God. He cannot disobey it."

"Then in obeying it he commits no offense, Divine One?"

"No, he is blameless."

"This other creature, here, is timid, Divine One, and suffers death without resisting."

"The rabbit -- yes. He is without courage. It is the law of his nature -- the Law of God. He must obey it."

"Then he cannot honorably be required to go counter to his nature and resist, Divine One?"

"No. No creature can be honorably required to go counter to the law of his nature -- the Law of God."

After a long time and many questions, Satan said, "The spider kills the fly, and eats it; the bird kills the spider and eats it; the wildcat kills the goose; the -- well, they all kill each other. It is murder all along the line. Here are countless multitudes of creatures, and they all kill, kill, kill, they are all murderers. And they are not to blame, Divine One?"

"They are not to blame. It is the law of their nature. And always the law of nature is the Law of God. Now -- observe -- behold! A new creature -- and the masterpiece -- Man!"

Men, women, children, they came swarming in flocks, in droves, in millions.

"What shall you do with them, Divine One?" Continues...

Continues...


Excerpted from Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain Copyright © 1991 by Mark Twain.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Letters From The Earth 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Temporarily banned from Heaven, Satan spends a long celestial day on Earth and sends his friends St. Michael and St. Gabriel letters about his observations of how God's experiment with the human race seems to be coming along. And, of course, Satan has the literary voice of Mark Twain at his cynical and iconoclastic best. C. S. Lewis much later tried a similar plot in his 'The Screwtape Letters' to push his theology. Twain's 'Letters from the Earth' is the better choice, especially if you're open to exposing and laughing at the hypocrisy of the overly pious.
AdamManthei More than 1 year ago
Aging and approaching the river Ganges, Mark Twain writes about his thoughts on Christianity, the church, Satan and the heavenly entourage, human nature, and God. The only one of those he doesn't criticize, subjecting it to his own brand of critical thought, is the last one. And in true Mark Twain fashion, there are parts of this book that are hillarious, finding humor in the holy. However, it quickly descends into writing that is clearly written when someone is in spiritual pain. Alone. And brave enough to stand there when he beleives anywhere else he's seen is a lie, a damn lie, or worse, a statistic. This is Mark Twain at his most dangerous. If anything did, this would earn him eternal damnation for his rejection of Orthodoxy, the popular beliefs of his time. But if you ever sat in a pew listening to a man of God teach the truth, and it left indigestion in your heart, then Letters from the Earth may be the cure.
Bonkwaddle More than 1 year ago
I guess I was expecting more. I thought it would have more humor. One reason to go to the store, and check out before purchasing. Had I done that, I would not have purchased the book.
LK_Hunter More than 1 year ago
This is a great satire, a well written story of the biblical angels and one of Twain's lesser known works. It's a great deal on Nook and hard to find anywhere else. For Twain fans, fans of good, classic literature, and probably atheists too.
Janus More than 1 year ago
Mark Twain brings his trademark wisdom and wit to the realm of philosophy and particularly religion in this collection of writings. The main set of stories takes Lucifer's point of view. He has been temporarily exiled from heaven for failing to praise God for his latest creation, life. Instead of being sent to hell, Lucifer is forced to live amongst man. The story unfolds as he retells the "true" history of man in various letters to his friends in heaven. While this may be one of Twain's funniest stories, it is also one of his most intellectually stimulating. After every one of Lucifer's letters in which he'd point out some hypocrisy or humorous religious rule I found myself deep in thought. This is the kind of book that when you are finished laughing you will suddenly find yourself saying, "Wow, he's right!" Assuming you're not offended by anything that pokes fun at Christianity this book is for everyone. The humor is more in the form of gentle wit and is never derogatory towards Christianity. I've read everything from Nieztche to Satre and in the end Twain rings the most true.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Very interesting read. I must say I do agree with whomever decided to hold onto it for so long before publishing it. It's controversial, especially for something written 110 years ago. I'm not saying it's right or it's wrong. I'm saying it's a very different perspective on an age old subject. Definitely a well worth it read!
taobrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely hilarious and still as biting as it was when first published. Twain's Letters from the Earth is a collection of letters written by the Archangel Satan to the other archangels, chronicling the follies of human beings and the god they've created in their own image. It's no wonder he didn't publish them in his lifetime, but it's great to have them available now.
BrendanCarroll on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A rather blasphemous look at Satan's relationship with God. A humorous perspective though probably not meant to be humorous at the time it was written.
ElTomaso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Scince fiction by Mark Twain," you say! Yes! Read it!
Diwanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As always to be expected from Mr. Twain, this is a humorous satire on the human condition and the Christian religion, as told from Satan. This book is a collection of letters that Satan wrote to his brothers Gabriel and Michael while on "vacation" on Earth.
Devil_llama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By far one of Twain's all time bests. The master humorist turns his attention to the strange conditions of human belief, and a series of short stories and essays addresses the condition Twain has referred to as the "damn human race". He begins with the title story, a tale as told by the devil himself, visiting earth and reporting back (with much amusement) to heaven. Then he follows that up with the history of the "Adam family", including exerpts from Eve's autobiography and Methuselah's diary. In the hands of such a master satirist, the result is uproraringly amusing, and yet at the same time profound enough to make you think about things in a way you've never thought about them before.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This publication is so far removed from Twain's style of writing it makes me wonder if he had early alhiemers, or he was not the author. People who study the Bible know one can find answers to any question. Twain makes conclusions based on his one-sided viewpoint. He does not recognize what is so plain to see - man's inhumanity to man.
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