The Chronicle of Young Satan Analysis

Mark Twain

Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The structure of “The Chronicle of Young Satan” is similar to Twain’s The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), a thematically similar novel set in the fourteenth century. Both tales are related by elderly narrators recalling periods during their youth when they were close to remarkable beings that appeared not to be of this earth. The Joan of the novel is the historical French girl whose accomplishments in leading armies against English invaders made her seem divinely guided. The narrative technique in both these stories enabled Twain to balance the intimacy of first-hand observation against the distance of time.

All versions of Twain’s so-called Mysterious Stranger stories are remarkable in their inventiveness and would have been regarded as pioneering works in science fiction and fantasy had they been published during his lifetime. Among the many literary innovations in “The Chronicle of Young Satan” are mind-reading, telekinesis, and teleportation. Although written more than a century ago, this comparatively unknown story is still capable of transporting readers into a world of ceaseless surprises and wonderment and is an important demonstration of the range of its author’s creative powers.

The Chronicle of Young Satan Bibliography

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Burns, Ken, Dayton Duncan, and Geoffrey C. Ward. Mark Twain: An Illustrated Biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.

Camfield, Gregg. The Oxford Companion to Mark Twain. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Emerson, Everett. Mark Twain: A Literary Life. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

Fishkin, Shelley Fisher. Lighting Out for the Territory: Reflections on Mark Twain and American Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Fishkin, Shelley Fisher. Was Huck Black? Mark Twain and African-American Voices. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Fishkin, Shelley Fisher, ed. A Historical Guide to Mark Twain. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Horn, Jason Gary. Mark Twain: A Descriptive Guide to Biographical Sources. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1999.

Kaplan, Fred. The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography. New York: Doubleday, 2003.

Kaplan, Justin. Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1966.

LeMaster, J. R., and James D. Wilson, eds. The Mark Twain Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1993.

Ober, K. Patrick. Mark Twain and Medicine: “Any Mummery Will Cure.” Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003.

Rasmussen, R. Kent. Mark Twain A to Z. New York: Facts On File, 1995.