Three of Twain’s favorite themes are central to “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg”: appearance versus reality, the importance of training or habit, and—overlying those two—the evils caused by human vanity. Twain and the stranger both enjoy exposing the town’s lies: Mary and Edward Richards read the Missionary Herald but are too weak to practice charity at home and save Burgess. Hadleyburg prides itself on its honesty, but everyone, including the Richardses, is willing to lie for the gold. There is no real virtue in Hadleyburg, only show.
Real virtue, as the stranger says, requires testing: People must train to resist temptation. Training can be either bad or good: In Hadleyburg, training is for cowardice, rationalization, and vanity. Edward tries to stand against that norm at the end of the story, but by then it is too late, and he only hurts Burgess again.
The reason that it is so difficult to act well is because doing so requires admitting to faults. In his essay “What Is Man?” Twain says that there is no real altruism—man is motivated only by self-interest. That hurts people’s vanity, however, so most people lie to themselves about their motives and morals. It takes a shock such as the Richardses’ guilt or Hadleyburg’s disgrace to break that pattern. After that, people can perhaps learn to enjoy overcoming their weaknesses rather than ignoring them: “Lead us into temptation.”
About this Item: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1901. Hard Cover. Condition: Good. No Jacket. No jacket, edges lightly rubbed, rear hinge starting. 1901 Hard Cover. We have more books available by this author. 398 pp. The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg is a piece of short fiction by Mark Twain. It first appeared in Harper's Monthly in December 1899, and was subsequently published by Harper & Brothers in the collection The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories and Sketches (1900). Twain actually encouraged it to be read as a replay of the Garden of Eden story in a satiric sense. CONTENTS: The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg; My Debut as a Literary Person; From the London Times: of 1904; At the Appetite-Cure; My First Lie, and How I Got Out of It; Is He Living or Is He Dead?; The Esquimau Maiden's Romance; How to Tell a Story; About Play-Acting; Concerning the Jews; Stirring Times in Australia: I.--The Government in the Frying-Pan, II.--A Memorable Sitting, III.---Curious Parliamentary Etiquette, IV.--The Historic Climax; The Austrian Edison Keeping School Again; Travelling with a Reformer; Private History of the Jumping Frog Story; My Boyhood Dreams. Keywords: MARK TWAIN AMERICAN LITERATURE CLASSIC ESSAYS SHORT STORIES. Seller Inventory # 2208420
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About this Item: Harper & Bros. Publishers, New York, 1917. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. No Jacket. NATIONAL EDITION AUTHORIZED EDITION. AUTHOR'S NATIONAL EDITION AUTHORIZED UNIFORM EDITION, PLATE FRONTISPIECE, PLATE ILLUSTRATIONS, Very good green cloth. Gilt titles. Some edge wear, (1917), 8vo, , 364pp. , "A stranger who feels mistreated by a supposedly incorruptible town concocts a vengeful scheme to test the honesty of its leading citizens." gb. Seller Inventory # 001065
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About this Item: Harper & Brothers, NY, 1928. Hard Cover. Condition: Near Fine-. Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket as Issued. Hitchcock, Lucius Wolcott; Clarence Pearson Hornung [cover]; William Addison Dwiggins [title page] (illustrator). Pages  clean, unmarked, binding tight and square. Illustrated with color frontispiece ["Yes, I'll Save You"]. Yellow buckram boards, mostly clean [mild discolorations], blind stamping, red and gilt decorations [age darkened], minor shelf wear at extremities, three bumped corners, lightly sunned spine, decorated endpapers. Also available at time of posting this listing in like condition, same series, and same publisher: Volumes 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Will quote discounts for orders of two or more volumes. Media Mail, Priority & some International shipping include free tracking information. Size: 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall. Seller Inventory # 010935
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About this Item: P. F. Collier & Son Company, New York, 1917. Hard Cover. Condition: Very Good with no dust jacket. Sound binding and hinges. Clean, tanned pages. Writing on front pastedown. Cloth over boards is clean with minor shelf wear, bright gilt lettering on spine. ; Includes My Debut As a Literary Person; From the London Times of 1904; At the Appetite-Cure; My First Lie, and How I Got Out of It; Is He Living or Is He Dead?; The Esquimau Maiden's Romance; How To Tell a Story; About Play-Acting; Concerning the Jews; Stirring Times in Austria; The Austrian Edison Keeping School Again; Travelling with a Reformer; Private History of the Jumping Frog Story; My Boyhood Dreams. 7.75" tall; 398 pages. Seller Inventory # 3940072
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