"What is Man?" was Twain's most serious, philosophical and private book. He kept it locked in his desk, considered it to be his Bible, and spoke of it as such to friends when he read them passages. He had written it, rewritten it, was finally satisfied with it, but still chose not to release it until after his death. It appears in the form of a dialogue between an old man and a young man who discuss who and what mankind really is and provides a new and different way of looking at who we are and the way we live. Anyone who thinks Twain was not a brilliant philosopher should read this book.
"The American Claimant" is a comedy of mistaken identities and multiple role switches―fertile and familiar Mark Twain territory. Its cast of characters include an American enamored of British hereditary aristocracy and a British earl entranced by American democracy.Twain uses this over-the-top comic frame to explore some serious issues as well-such as the construction of self and identity, the role of the press in society, and the moral and social questions raised by capitalism and industrialization in the United States. A unique melange of science fiction and fantasy, romance, farce, and political satire, Twain's least-known comic novel is both thought-provoking and entertaining.
Bringing together 38 tales and sketches, "The 30 000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories" provides a rare long view of Twain's work, covering virtually his entire career, from "Advice to Young Girls" (a spoof that appeared in 1865, just months before he achieved national acclaim for his "Jumping Frog" tale), to the title story, written in 1904.
"On the Decay of the Art of Lyingis" a short essay written by Mark Twain in 1885 for a meeting of the Historical and Antiquarian Club of Hartford, Connecticut. In the essay, Twain laments the dour ways in which men of America's Gilded Age employ man's "most faithfull friend."
The story projects Twain’s lifelong struggles with his conscience. Here the conscience admits to being the “most pitiless enemy” of its host, whom it is supposed to “improve” but only tyrannizes with gusto while refusing to praise the host for anything.
One of the most renowned public speakers of his day, Mark Twain was often asked to give speeches to mark public holidays or important anniversaries, for school graduations, at banquets for distinguished visitors, and at events sponsored by charitable organizations, reform groups, and the like. Published a few months after his death, this wide-ranging collection of speeches, spanning more than four decades, covers the gamut of Mark Twain's interests.