Mark Twain, the “Father of American Literature,” and renowned humorist, satirist, and commentator on humanity and American life, is best known for his classic, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twain’s body of work, however, is expansive; from Adventures of Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court to the travelogue The Innocents Abroad and essays on human nature, religion, science, and literature, no aspect of life is left untouched by Twain. His portrayal of American life, ripe with the contradictions of America’s ideals and its actual practices, as well as his characters, at once fantastical and completely human, provide a window onto humanity and social life. As the third book in the Great Authors and Philosophy series, Mark Twain and Philosophy reveals deeper issues raised by Twain’s work and speaks to his continued relevance as a social commentator interrogating issues fundamental to our lives. From slavery, freedom, and human rights, to science, parapsychology, and religion, this book exposes how Twain’s body of work touches every corner of human experience.
Alan Goldman is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Philosophy at the College of William & Mary. He has written extensively on philosophy and popular culture, literature, morality, love, and beauty. His most recent books include Philosophy and the Novel (2013) and Reasons from Within: Desires and Values (2009).