Twain and Freud on the Human Race

Parallels on Personality, Politics and Religion


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About the Book

This work explores the psychological insights and theories of Mark Twain and Sigmund Freud. Though at first glance these two men seem to constitute an unlikely pairing, each formulated a comprehensive theory of individual and group psychology and subsequently applied that understanding to the realms of religion, morality, patriotism and politics.
After an extensive overview of each man’s approach, the author examines the effect of this reading of Twain’s understanding of human psychology on Twain studies and on our own sense of contemporary events.

About the Author(s)

Abraham Kupersmith is a retired professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York. He has presented numerous times at the Center for Mark Twain Studies, and has also written about American political theory. He lives in Bronx, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Abraham Kupersmith
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 215
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, appendix, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3306-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5244-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      3

I Two Models of Human Nature      9
“What Is Man?” and Freud’s Structural Model of Personality

II The Creation of Character      25
The Role of Circumstance in “The Turning Point of My Life”

III Civilization and Group Psychology      32
Herd Behavior in “The United States of Lyncherdom” and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

IV Character and Civilization      41
The Five Worlds of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

V The Relationship Between Temperament and Training      58
Social Ideology in “The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg”

VI Race and Temperament      73
Personality and the Ideology of Race in Pudd’nhead Wilson

VII Religion and Civilization      88
The Democratic Demagogue in Christian Science

VIII History and Character      100
Temperament and Training in Two Historical Periods: A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court

IX Politics, Patriotism, and Leadership      117
The Democratic Leader in Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

X Leadership, Ideology, and the Church      126
Temperament and Religion in the Eseldorf Version of “The Mysterious Stranger”

Conclusion      137
Afterword      143
Appendix: “What Is Man?”      145
Notes      191
Bibliography      199
Index      203