Twain, though an unbeliever, was one of the first American cultural observers to intuit that the country's great problem was not religion per se but a surfeit of religiosity.
I immediately picture Flannery and her peacocks...
And this, on Jane Austen, made me laugh:
Austen, Twain muses, seems to spend the first half of every book getting you to "detest" her characters and the second half convincing you to like them.
Marvellous! The great artificiality of so much writing, explained in one easy sentence.