"All modern American literature comes from one book by Twain called Huckleberry Finn," Ernest Hemingway wrote in 1935, giving short shrift to Herman Melville and others but making an interesting point. Co-founder of the successful startup Broadcast.com, Mark Cuban is known as the zealous owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and a star of the TV show 'Shark Tank.'. Livy, like many people during that time, took pride in her pious, high-minded, genteel approach to life. However, Twain worried about being a Westerner. Twain became one of the best-known storytellers in the West. But nothing panned out, and by the middle of 1862, he was flat broke and in need of a regular job. In January 1845 Clemens watched a man die in the street after he had been shot by a local merchant; this incident provided the basis for the Boggs shooting in Huckleberry Finn. He was of Scots-Irish, English, and Cornish ancestry. Christened as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the man who would call himself Mark Twain was born on November 30, 1835 in the small river town of Florida, Missouri, just 200 miles from Indian Territory. As Halley's comet reached its perihelion — its closest point to the sun — Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born in the sleepy, little town of Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835. Where, he wondered then, would he find his future? He worked briefly as a typesetter in St. Louis in 1853 before traveling to New York City to work at a large printing shop. Working at a printing house and part-time delivering parcels, … The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published in 1876, and soon thereafter he began writing a sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Biography. Samuel Clemens (later better known by his pen name Mark Twain) was born in Florida, Missouri in 1835 to the son of a Tennessee country merchant. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! An actor reads his words. At 34, this handsome, red-haired, affable, canny, egocentric and ambitious journalist and traveler had become one of the most popular and famous writers in America. This was an old term used by pilots to show how deep the water is where they throw the lead. Twain is remembered as a great chronicler of American life in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Apostle Saint Mark was one of Christ's 70 disciples, one of the four evangelists and the traditional author of the second Gospel, The Book of Mark. In 1885, he triumphed as a book publisher by issuing the bestselling memoirs of former President Ulysses S. Grant, who had just died. There were local diversions as well—fishing, picnicking, and swimming. Hannibal inspired several of Twain's fictional locales, including "St. Petersburg" in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Perhaps it was a sign of the infant's rise to literary fame. The last piece of writing he did, evidently, was the short humorous sketch “Etiquette for the Afterlife: Advice to Paine.” The sketch was published posthumously in 1995. It is not surprising that the pleasant events of youth, filtered through the softening lens of memory, might outweigh disturbing realities. As it turned out, Tom Blankenship’s older brother Bence had been secretly taking food to the runaway slave for some weeks before the slave was apparently discovered and killed. A Helpless Situation. Childhood along the Mississippi. Clemens was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, the town that inspired the setting in some of his most popular works such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in the tiny village of Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835, the sixth child of John and Jane Clemens. Twain also wrote numerous short stories, most notably “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” (1865). Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Mark Twain's Short Stories and Essays. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. He wrote a great many books and signed whatever he wrote with a queer name—MARK TWAIN. He started his career as a typesetter at a newspaper, worked as a printer, a riverboat pilot, and then turned to gold mining. The Clemens family "now became almost destitute," wrote biographer Everett Emerson, and was forced into years of economic struggle — a fact that would shape the career of Twain. When Jane Clemens was in her 80s, Clemens asked her about his poor health in those early years: “I suppose that during that whole time you were uneasy about me?” “Yes, the whole time,” she answered. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. A cholera epidemic a few years later killed at least 24 people, a substantial number for a small town. Mark Twain Biography. Late in his life, Twain reflected on this promise that became a curse: It put our energies to sleep and made visionaries of us—dreamers and indolent.…It is good to begin life poor; it is good to begin life rich—these are wholesome; but to begin it prospectively rich! DOWNLOAD BIOGRAPHY'S MARK TWAIN FACT CARD. In Old Times on the Mississippi (1875), he recalled his childhood in Hannibal with fondness. In private he demonstrated a stunning insensitivity to friends and loved ones. A Short Biography of Mark Twain. He would later go by the "pen name" Mark Twain as a writer. A short biography of Mark Twain, author of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, written in easy-to-read English for younger readers. Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel Clemens. He lived sparingly in the Ament household but was allowed to continue his schooling and, from time to time, indulge in boyish amusements. A Short Biography of Mark Twain Mark Twain was born Samuel Clemens in 1835 in Florida, Missouri, USA. Mark Twain, pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, (born November 30, 1835, Florida, Missouri, U.S.—died April 21, 1910, Redding, Connecticut), American humorist, journalist, lecturer, and novelist who acquired international fame for his travel narratives, especially The Innocents Abroad (1869), Roughing It (1872), and Life on the Mississippi (1883), and for his adventure stories of … When he was four years old, his family moved to Hannibal, a town on the Mississippi River much like the towns depicted in his two most famous novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). The two committed suicide after their defeat by Octavian. But absent or not, throughout 34 years of marriage, Twain had indeed loved his wife. Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in the frontier village of Florida, Missouri. Samuel Clemens, the sixth child of John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens, was born two months prematurely and was in relatively poor health for the first 10 years of his life. "An indisputable and almost overwhelming sense of inferiority bounced around his psyche," wrote scholar Hamlin Hill, noting that these feelings were competing with his aggressiveness and vanity. A gifted raconteur, distinctive humorist, and irascible moralist, he transcended the apparent limitations of his origins to become a popular public figure and one of America’s best and most beloved writers. The town, situated on the Mississippi River, was in many ways a splendid place to grow up. In 1847 Clemens’s father died of pneumonia. A boy might swim or canoe to and explore Glasscock’s Island, in the middle of the Mississippi River, or he might visit the labyrinthine McDowell’s Cave, about 2 miles (3 km) south of town. Twain's first book, "The Innocents Abroad," was published in 1869, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" in 1876, and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" in 1885. Twain's fervent wish was to get rich, support his mother, rise socially and receive what he called "the respectful regard of a high Eastern civilization. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was an American humorist, writer, publisher, entrepreneur, lecturer, and publisher. During his lifetime Mark Twain wrote more than 20 novels. Today he is best remembered as the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). And the lives he might imagine for these living people could easily be embroidered by the romantic exploits he read in the works of James Fenimore Cooper, Sir Walter Scott, and others. Sam kept up his schooling until he was about 12 years old, when — with his father dead and the family needing a source of income — he found employment as an apprentice printer at the Hannibal Courier, which paid him with a meager ration of food. Mark Twain Biography. Writing to a friend shortly after his wedding, Twain could not believe his good luck: "I have ... the only sweetheart I have ever loved ... she is the best girl, and the sweetest, and gentlest, and the daintiest, and she is the most perfect gem of womankind.". Some of his early sketches, such as “The Dandy Frightening the Squatter” (1852), circulated in local newspapers. Twain suffered volcanic rages and nasty bouts of paranoia, and he experienced many periods of depressed indolence, which he tried to assuage by smoking cigars, reading in bed and playing endless hours of billiards and cards. He wrote a fair amount but was unable to finish most of his projects. Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri and would later use that location as the setting for two of his most famous works, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. If you want to know what happened to him at this time you must read a book he wrote, Life on the Mississippi River. Perhaps it was the romantic visionary in him that caused Clemens to recall his youth in Hannibal with such fondness. Later they moved to Hannibal of the same state where Twain’s father, a layer, got a job but, unfortunately, soon he got sick and passed away when the boy was a bit older than ten. A licensed steamboat pilot by 1859, he soon found regular employment plying the shoals and channels of the great river. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The first site evidently became Jackson’s Island in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; the second became McDougal’s Cave in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. John Clemens, by all reports, was a serious man who seldom demonstrated affection. We strive for accuracy and fairness. Mark Zuckerberg is co-founder and CEO of the social-networking website Facebook, as well as one of the world's youngest billionaires. Huck Finn required years to conceptualize and write, and Twain often put it aside. Even before that year, however, continuing debts had forced them to auction off property, to sell their only slave, Jennie, to take in boarders, even to sell their furniture. Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri. "Wheresoever she was, there was Eden," he wrote in tribute to her. A Monument To Adam. They contributed powerfully to a growing pessimism in him, a deep-down feeling that human existence is a cosmic joke perpetrated by a chuckling God. Twain was brought up in Hannibal, Missouri, a town on the great Mississippi River. After failing as a silver prospector‚ Sam began writing for the Territorial Enterprise‚ a Virginia City‚ Nevada newspaper where he used‚ for the first time‚ his pen name‚ Mark Twain. In 1889, Twain published A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, a science-fiction/historical novel about ancient England. - Mark Twain Biography and List of Works - Mark Twain Books His next major work, in 1894, was The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, a somber novel that some observers described as "bitter.". "Much of the last decade of his life, he lived in hell," wrote Hamlin Hill. If you continue browsing the site, you agree to the use of cookies on this website. His brother Pleasant Han… My parents removed to Missouri in the early ’thir His memory faltered. https://www.biography.com/writer/mark-twain. Early in their marriage, he and Livy had lost their toddler son, Langdon, to diphtheria; in 1896, his favorite daughter, Susy, died at the age of 24 of spinal meningitis. In 1851, at 15, he got a job as a printer and occasional writer and editor at the Hannibal Western Union, a little newspaper owned by his brother, Orion. Mark Twain Biography - Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 - April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was a famous and popular American humorist, novelist, writer and lecturer. Learn more about his biography, writing style, and major works. Television star Mark Harmon has been on long-running shows such as St. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. One evening in 1844 Clemens discovered a corpse in his father’s office; it was the body of a California emigrant who had been stabbed in a quarrel and was placed there for the inquest. In the meantime, he pursued respectability with the 1881 publication of The Prince and the Pauper, a charming novel endorsed with enthusiasm by his genteel family and friends.