Mark Twain’s 'Bible'

Mark Twain’s 'Bible'
Twain in 1907

“Very well, Adam and Eve now knew what evil was, and how to do it. They knew how to do various kinds of wrong things, and among them one principal one – the one God had his mind on principally. That one was, the art and mystery of sexual intercourse. To them it was a magnificent discovery, and they stopped idling around and turned their entire attention to it, poor exultant young things!” – Mark Twain

Twain’s Heaven, of course, had no sex.

Twain’s three main collections of religious satire are The Diaries of Adam and Eve, Letters from the Earth and The Mysterious Stranger. The Diaries of Adam and Eve is a compilation comprised of Extracts from Adam’s Diary (first published in 1893) and Eve’s Diary (published in 1905-06). The latter is tinged by the loss of his wife in 1904 yet it was banned in Worcester, Massachusetts, because the pictures of Eve (like the one shown below) were deemed pornographic.

Mark Twain Eve

Letters from the Earth is written by Satan, who is on Earth, and the letters are addressed to his fellow archangels Michael and Gabriel, who are back in God’s general vicinity. These letters, written in 1909, but not published till after his death, are among Twain’s finest writing, much nastier and funnier than the sweetly naive Adam’s Diary or the tender Eve’s Diary.

Twain also worked on The Mysterious Stranger, which is also about Satan, and his nephew, over a longer period of time. That too was unfinished and exists in three different versions, suggesting he was never satisfied with any of them.

Eve (his wife, Olivia), passed away in 1904 in Italy, where they had gone for her health, at the Villa di Quarto (shown below) in the hills north of Florence. Adam (Twain) would pass away in 1910. They are both buried in her home town of Elmira, New York.