Mark Twain's irreverent commentary on the "New Barbarians'" encounter with the old world, his satire targets both the chauvinist and cosmopolitan. His naove westerner is a blustering pretender to sophistication who sees the ruins of antiquity as a shadow of their glory, and dwarfed in contrast to the great American west! 532 pages, softcover.
The Innocents Abroad is one of the most prominent and influential travel books ever written about Europe and the Holy Land. In it, the collision of the American “New Barbarians” and the European “Old World” provides much comic fodder for Mark Twain—and a remarkably perceptive lens on the human condition. Gleefully skewering the ethos of American tourism in Europe, Twain’s lively satire ultimately reveals just what it is that defines cultural identity. As Twain himself points out, “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” And Jane Jacobs observes in her Introduction, “If the reader is American, he may also find himself on a tour of his own psyche.”
Jane Jacobs’s books include The Nature of Economies and The Death and Life of Great American Cities, both of which are available in Modern Library clothbound editions. She lives in Toronto.
“A classic work . . . [that] marks a critical point in the development of our literature.”—Leslie A. Fiedler