Announcing Eve and Adam - Genders in the Garden

Near the end of his life, Mark Twain wrote a series of six stories commonly known as the ‘Adamic Diaries’. Four of the stories poke fun at Christianity and are dark in tone. These stories were not published until after Twain died in 1910. Two of the six stories in the series were published as illustrated books while Twain lived—Extracts from Adam’s Diary in 1904 and Eve’s Diary in 1906. These two stories are less pointed and much lighter in tone. In 2017 I intertwined them in “Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Eve and Adam” by rearranging text and adding a little new material. I have now created a revised edition of this book that features new formatting and additional illustrations. It also carries a new title: simply, The Diaries of Eve and Adam. The paperback will be available for purchase on July 12, 2024.

Twain was often taken to task for his ideas and his willingness to poke fun at people and institutions. After the publication of Eve’s Diary, an article in a newspaper criticized Twain for falsifying the bible story of creation by making Eve the namer of things and creatures. Twain responded by saying story-tellers are independent of facts and privileged to rearrange them to meet the requirements of the situation. He said that when he was hot with the fires of production, he would even distort the facts of the multiplication table, let alone the facts of Genesis.

Contrary to Twain’s wishes, Extracts from Adam’s Diary and Eve’s Diary were not published in one volume until after his death. Considering them separately, Eve’s Dairy is primarily a tender and loving story. It is thought to be Twain’s eulogy to his deceased wife, Olivia. Extracts from Adam’s Diary goes mainly for laughs. While Twain depicts Adam to be love-resistant at first, he nevertheless, and cleverly, sets the couple’s location within creation at Niagara Falls, the honeymoon capital of the world. The stories work well apart, but even better when read consecutively (or we think, when blended in our edition).

Taken together, the two stories put Eve’s and Adam’s sometimes sweet, sometimes humorous views of creation more effectively at odds. Undoubtedly, Eve & Adam view the wonder of God's creation differently. But weren't they supposed to live in harmony? Doesn't Eve meddle in Adam's business? Isn't Adam too self-absorbed? Is nature too full of wonder for Eve, or are Adam's priorities out of whack? Mark Twain's tender take on creation and gender roles will amuse you while you decide what Mr. Twain gets right. And yet another wonder of creation? Marc Johnson-Pencook's illustrations! They simply amaze!

To preview the reissue of The Diaries of Eve and Adam, readers of this blog can view/download a free PDF version of the upcoming paperback. Enjoy!