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Mark Twain and Religion

A Mirror of American Eclecticism

Series:

John Q. Hays

Literary scholars long have insisted that, because of familial and financial tragedy and a growing feeling of artistic failure, Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) suffered the deterioration of his religious writing into inconsistency and bleak despair. Refuting that critical dogmatism, John Q. Hays's seminal Mark Twain and Religion: A Mirror of American Eclecticism rejects notions of personal causation and instead attributes the inconsistency and despair to the properties of the materials with which Twain worked. Having rejected religious orthodoxy, Twain successively examines 18th century Rationalism, early 19th century Romanticism, and late 19th and early 20th century Scientific Determinism (all with undercurrents of folkloric supernaturalism he had learned from black slaves of his youth) in a literary eclectic journey similar to that of the corporate national mind and soul and reflective of someone spiritually alive.
Contents: A study of Mark Twain's writing about religion.