Though Mark Twain and Friedrich Nietzsche were aware of each other, they never met and there is no evidence of influence in either direction. Yet the similarities in their thought are strikingly numerous and close. They were both penetrating psychologists who shared Sigmund Freud's interest in the unconscious and his misgiving about the future of civilization. Both regarded Christianity as a leading symptom of the world's madness, manifest in a slavish morality of good and evil and in a widespread subjection to irrational guilt. They were at one in lamenting the pervasive human surrender to varieties of evasion, disavowel, deceit, and self-deception. Other, lesser similarities abound in thought, style, and patterns of literary production.
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