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Chapter 18 - Science and Technology

from Part III - Historical and Cultural Contexts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 December 2019

John Bird
Winthrop University
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Mark Twain lived in an era of profound scientific and technological change, in which he was very interested. He followed the debate over evolution, with wide reading in Darwin and other scientists. He also kept up with advances in geology, and he was involved in geological and archeological digs. He was an avid reader in natural history, with a special interest in insects. His interest in science found its way into his writing, such as the key use of fingerprinting in Pudd’nhead Wilson, and especially in his late unpublished writing, when he contrasted science with religion. Twain was keenly interested in technology and inventions, and he was an early adopter of inventions like the typewriter, the telephone (he claimed to have the first telephone in a private residence), and the bicycle, among others. He was a friend to both Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla, visiting Tesla’s laboratory to be involved with experiments in electricity, and allowing Edison to both record his voice and film him with his moving camera.

Mark Twain in Context , pp. 182 - 191
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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