By Forrest G. Robinson
The Jester and the Sages ways the lifestyles and paintings of Mark Twain through putting him in dialog with 3 eminent philosophers of his time—Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Karl Marx. remarkable in Twain scholarship, this interdisciplinary research through Forrest G. Robinson, Gabriel Noah Brahm Jr., and Catherine Carlstroem rescues the yank genius from his position as funny-man through exploring how his reflections on faith, politics, philosophy, morality, and social matters overlap the philosophers’ built recommendations on those topics. Remarkably, that they had a lot in common.
During their lifetimes, Twain, Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx witnessed substantial upheavals in Western buildings of faith, morality, historical past, political financial system, and human nature. the rules of fact have been shaken, and one didn't must be a philosopher—nor did one even have to learn philosophy—to weigh in on what this all may suggest. Drawing on a variety of basic and secondary fabrics, the authors express that Twain was once good attuned to debates of the time. in contrast to his Continental contemporaries, besides the fact that, he used to be now not as systematic in constructing his views.
Brahm and Robinson’s bankruptcy on Nietzsche and Twain unearths their matters’ universal defiance of the ethical and spiritual truisms in their time. either wanted freedom, resented the restrictions of Christian civilization, and observed punishing guilt because the affliction of contemporary guy. Pervasive ethical evasion and bland conformity have been the important final result, they believed.
In addition to a continuous specialize in guilt, Robinson discovers in his bankruptcy on Freud and Twain that the 2 males shared a lifelong fascination with the mysteries of the human brain. From the formative impact of adolescence and repression, to desires and the subconscious, the brain might loose humans or hold them in perpetual chains. the area of the subconscious used to be of specific curiosity to either males because it pertained to the construction of art.
In the ultimate bankruptcy, Carlstroem and Robinson clarify that, regardless of major alterations of their perspectives of human nature, background, and growth, Twain and Marx have been either profoundly disturbed by way of monetary and social injustice on the planet. Of specific difficulty used to be the gulf that business capitalism opened among the privileged elite homeowners and the colossal type of property-less staff. Moralists impatient with traditional morality, Twain and Marx desired to loose traditional humans from the illusions that enslaved them.
Twain didn't comprehend the work's of Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx good, but lots of his techniques move these of his philosophical contemporaries. by way of concentrating on the deeper points of Twain’s highbrow make-up, Robinson, Brahm, and Carlstroem complement the normal appreciation of the forces that drove Twain’s creativity and the dynamics of his humor.