On the Decay of the Art of Lying

"On the Decay of the Art of Lying" is a short essay written by Mark Twain in 1880 for a meeting of the Historical and Antiquarian Club of Hartford, Connecticut. Twain published the text in The Stolen White Elephant Etc. (1882).[1][2]

In the essay, Twain laments the four ways in which men of America's Gilded Age employ man's 'most faithful friend'. He concludes by insisting that:

"the wise thing is for us diligently to train ourselves to lie thoughtfully, judiciously; to lie with a good object, and not an evil one; to lie for others' advantage, and not our own; to lie healingly, charitably, humanely, not cruelly, hurtfully, maliciously; to lie gracefully and graciously, not awkwardly and clumsily; to lie firmly, frankly, squarely, with head erect, not haltingly, tortuously, with pusillanimous mien, as being ashamed of our high calling."

The essay, Twain notes, was "offered for the thirty-dollar prize," but it "did not take the prize."

See also


  1. Twain, Mark (1882). "On the Decay of the Art of Lying". The Stolen White Elephant Etc. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company. pp. 217–225. Retrieved December 9, 2018 via Internet Archive.
  2. Twain, Mark. Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, & Essays, 1852-1890. Ed. by Louis J. Budd. New York: Library of America, 1992. 1020.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.