During the late 16th century, a strange man visits a deeply religious village in Austria and introduces himself as Satan.
“The work is a broadly conceived attempt to portray man’s fear-induced animistic and mythic ideas with all their far-flung transformations and interrelations. It relates the impact of these phantasmagorias on human destiny and the causal relationships by which they have come to be crystallized into organized religion. This is a biologist speaking, whose scientific training has disciplined him in a grim objectivity rarely found in the pure historian.” [Albert Einstein].
Miscellany of fiction, essays, and notes by Mark Twain, published posthumously in 1962. Written over a period of 40 years, the pieces in the anthology are characterized by a sense of ironic pessimism. The title piece comprises letters written by Satan to his fellow angels about the shameless pride and foolishness of humans. “Papers of the Adam Family,” a first-person family history of Adam and Eve, traces the first failed attempts at civilization. Other pieces include “A Cat-Tale,” an amusing, alliterative bedtime story; “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses,” a critique of that author’s style; and “The Damned Human Race,” a collection of bitter satirical bits.