Mark Twain Quick Facts:
- Born: Samuel Langhorne Clemens, November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, U.S.
- Died: April 21, 1910 (aged 74)
- Pen name: Mark Twain
- Occupation: Writer, lecturer
- Nationality: American
- Notable works:
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- Spouse: Olivia Langdon Clemens (m. 1870–1904)
- Children: Langdon, Susy, Clara, Jean
“Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.” – Hunter S. Thompson
To express your thoughts in words is a talent mastered by few and among these few, we have a classic American novelist, Mark Twain. This wily intellectual and adventurous writer is famous for two of its classic American novels; The Adventure of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry.
Early and Personal Life
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain was born on 30th November, 1835 in Florida, Missouri. At the age of 4, Twain shifted to Hannibal, Missouri and stayed there for almost 13 years.
He left his school at the age of ten, after his father’s death in order to support the family. By the time he was 15, he got a job as an occasional editor, writer and printer at the Hannibal Western Union.
However, at the age of 21, Twain fulfilled his dream of learning the art of piloting a steamboat. In 1859, he got the license and became financially strong, but due to the outbreak of civil war, his services were cut short.
He also served the army, but only for a couple of weeks. After the war, Twain went to the west and started working as a journalist for Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, there he became one of the most famous story teller.
In order to improve his social status, Mark Twain married a 24 year old Olivia Langdon in February 1870. Olivia was the daughter of a rich coal merchant. The couple settled in Buffalo and they had four children.
Beginning of the Career
In 1865, Mark Twain got his first big break, when “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog”, a tale about life in a mining camp got published in different magazines and newspapers throughout the country. In 1869, his first bestseller “The Innocents Abroad” was published. And at the age of 34, this amazing, ambitious, canny and egocentric journalist became one of the most famous writers in America.
Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Fin, is a base for all the modern American Literature. While, Twain was working on Huckleberry Fin, he also published a book called “The Prince and the Pauper.” In 1883, another one of his books called the “Life on the Mississippi” was published and finally, in 1884, Twain’s masterpiece Huckleberry Fin was published. Once he had an established career as a writer, Twain decided to go after money. In 1885, he became one of the best book publishers, by dispensing the best-selling autobiographies of former President Ulysses S. Grant. However, his success wasn’t long lived. His publishing house soon went bankrupt.
The adversity shook the grounds under Twain’s feet, however, in 1889, he did manage to publish a book called “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” and this helped him to get back on his feet. His next major work came in 1894 and it was a sombre novel called “The Tragedy of Pudd’n head Wilson.”
During this time period he also wrote various essays, short stories and books.
The final novel/book attempted by Mark Twain has three versions and all of them are unfinished, the working title for the three versions were “The Chronicle of Young Satan/Schoolhouse Hill/The Mysterious Stranger” and were worked on between 1897 and 1908.
In 1909 Twain said:
“I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together”
Mark Twain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, just one day after Halley’s Comet closest approach to earth. It appears his prediction was quite accurate!
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