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Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven by Mark Twain
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This was the last story published by Twain, a few months before he died. The story follows Captain Elias Stormfield on his extremely long cosmic journey to heaven. It deals with the obsession of souls with the "celebrities" of heaven, like Adam and Moses, who according to Twain become as distant to most people in heaven as living celebrities are on Earth. Twain uses this story to show his view that the common conception of heaven is ludicrous and points out the incongruities of such beliefs.
A lot of the description of Heaven is given by the character Sandy McWilliams, a cranberry farmer who is very experienced in the ways of heaven. The heaven described by him is similar to the conventional Christian heaven, but includes a larger version of all the locations on Earth, as well as of everywhere in the universe. Once in heaven, the person spends eternity living as he thinks best, usually according to his true (sometimes undiscovered) talent. According to one of the characters, a cobbler who "has the soul of a poet in him won't have to make shoes here", implying that he would instead turn to poetry and achieve perfection in it.
As Stormfield proceeds through heaven, he learns that his pre-conceptions of "heaven" are all wrong and a good part of the fun of the tale comes from Twain's revealing the "true facts" about what heaven is and how it works. (Introduction by Wikipedia and John Greenman)

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Transcribed by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

CHAPTER I

Well, when I had been dead about thirty years I begun to get a little anxious. Mind you, had been whizzing through space all that time, like a comet. LIKE a comet! Why, Peters, I laid over the lot of them! Of course there warn't any of them going my way, as a steady thing, you know, because they travel in a long circle like the loop of a lasso, whereas I was pointed as straight as a dart for the Hereafter; but I happened on one every now and then that was going my way for an hour or so, and then we had a bit of a brush together. But it was generally pretty one sided, because I sailed by them the same as if they were standing still. An ordinary comet don't make more than about 200,000 miles a minute. Of course when I came across one of that sort like Encke's and Halley's comets, for instance it warn't anything but just a flash and a vanish, you see. You couldn't rightly call it a race. It was as if the comet was a gravel train and I was a telegraph despatch... Continue reading book >>


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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 1 review)

Reviewer: - February 18, 2013
Subject: Laughing...
The infamous curmudgeon goes to heaven and we have a great time as he learns the ropes... well read too.


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