"The Bible According to Mark Twain: Writings on Heaven, Eden, and the Flood," a collection of writings by Twain edited by UNLV English professor Joe McCullough and Butler University professor Howard Baetzhold, will be available at bookstores this month.
The book, published by the University of Georgia Press, contains the most important writings of Twain on biblical themes and figures, featuring portrayals of God, Adam, Eve, Satan, Methuselah, and Shem.
Several of this volume's selections are previously unpublished; others, like "Letters from the Earth," are classics. Virtually all have been newly edited to reflect as closely as possible Twain's final intentions for their form and content. The editors have also supplied an abundance of background material on the writings.
Composed over four decades, the writings range from farce to fantasy to satire, each bearing the mark of Twain's unmistakable wit and insight. Readers will find Twain's accounts of Adam and Eve's domestic troubles; Methuselah's discussion of an ancient version of baseball; Shem's hand-wringing description of how material shortages and labor troubles were hampering the progress of the ark that his father, Noah, was building; Satan's musings on our puerile concepts of the afterlife; and Twain's advice on how to dress and tip properly in heaven.
In addition to a number of articles on Twain, McCullough has authored "Hamlin Garland" and has edited "Hamlin Garland's Tales of the Middle Border" and "Hamlin Garland's Son of the Middle Border."