Letters from the Earth is one of Mark Twain's posthumously published works. The essays were written during a difficult time in Twain's life; he was deep in debt and had lost his wife and one of his daughters. The book consists of a series of short stories, many of which deal with God and Christianity. The title story consists of eleven letters written by the archangel Satan to archangels, Gabriel and Michael, about his observations on the curious proceedings of earthly life and the nature of man's religions. Other short stories in the book include a bedtime story about a family of cats Twain wrote for his daughters, and an essay explaining why an anaconda is morally superior to Man.
Letters from the Earth was given to Janos Drugeth by Noelle Murphy. Drugeth was surprised by the content of the book, especially when considering Noelle - a Catholic - gave the book to him. Drugeth contemplated that if Mark Twain were still alive, his text would undeniably would lead to him to be burned at the stake in some countries and put him in in serious trouble with the authorities in most others. The book also brought Drugeth over to realize that Letters from the Earth couldn't be heretical, given that the concept of heresy in his contemporary present had been undergoing a rapid change in Europe since the Ring of Fire.