Novels; Humor/Satire; Short Stories; Plays; Essays; Letters Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Mark Twain was the most celebrated writer of his time. He was a writer, humorist, adventurer and prankster but died a curmudgeon. He felt strongly about his beliefs and opinions. In his early life Twain found adventure, it seemed, every where he went. He was in Virginia and nearly found himself in a dual. He went to Hawaii were he spent time in a commune with beautiful Hawaiian woman. He promoted himself at every opportunity. He wore a white suit that allowed him to stand out among the populous.He hated wealth because of its collateral damage of corruption it caused at the expense of the less fortunate. However, that didn’t deter him from trying to attain it. He poured money into get rich quick schemes of which none availed his desired hopes, in fact, it caused him to go bankrupt. He defended the slaves and the Chinese immigrants of the indignities brought upon them by the rich. He poked at that values that rich American’s held to the delight of the underdog. History would judge him on his writings causing him to hold the title of an American icon.
• John Clemens- lawyer, storekeeper, judge and land speculator• Mother Jane was a fun and spirited woman• She lived in poverty for years after husband died• His father found solace in alcohol and died suddenly from pneumonia when Sam was 11
Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835 in Florida Missouri Sixth of seven children John and Jane Clemens Moved to Hannibal, Missouri at age 4 Quit school at the age of twelve
Father and uncle owned slaves Spent summer days in slave quarters listening to tales and spiritual fodder Witnessed a slave get beat to death by a white man Worked as printer’s apprentice allowing for knowledge of world news
At 18 went to Philadelphia, New York and Washington working per diem as newspaper reporter mailing his stories to his brother His brother Orion published Sam’s work in his Muscatine Journal
At 21 he convinced Horace Bixby to teach him the art of piloting a steamboat on the Mississippi River From 1816-1870 the steamboat carried cotton and sugar also passengers Piloted for two years before the Civil War started Joined a confederate unit called the Marion Rangers and quit after two weeks
In 1861, at 26 followed his brother Orion, appointed by President Lincoln as Secretary to Nevada Territory, by stagecoach, west as his assistant Hoped to strike it rich in Nevadas silver rush The journey’s trials and tribulations became fodder for his book, Roughing It
Unable to be profitable in either mining or assisting his brother and in of a job Sept. of 1861 became a writer for the Virginia City Territorial, Nevada Uses the pseudonym “Mark Twain” for first time-which is a steamboat term that means 12 feet of water
Wrote for the Territorial Enterprise for 3 years under the name Mark Twain with a style of friendliness and sharp wit Wrote editorials, articles and featured funny stories with a sharp wit Needing a change of scenery he headed to San Francisco in 1865 Continued to write stories for local news papers becoming a favorite story teller to many fans
“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” “Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.” “By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity -- another mans I mean.” “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.” “I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.”
His big break came in 1865 mocking the mining camp he once inhabited with the publication of “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” Later named “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” Became so popular he started on lecture tours
In 1867, hired by Alto California when he embarked on a 5 month sea journey through the Mediterranean writing about the journey that was met with huge audience acceptance In 1869 he finished and published “ The Innocents Abroad” becoming one of the best writers in America
Big names of literary America where centered in Boston and Cambridge and Twain wanted their respect Twain was quoted as saying, “ I want to obtain the respectful regard of high eastern civilization” and said it with a serious face He felt like he was crude and lacking class
In 1870,after dating for two years he marries the daughter of rich coal merchant, Olivia Langdon and settles in Buffalo, New York improving his social status, asking her to help ‘”reform” his western ways Joins the Buffalo Express as a partner, editor and writer Becomes a father for the first time to Langdon Clemens who dies at the age of two from diphtheria
In 1871 the family moves to Hartford, Ct In 1872 his embellished tail of adventure in crossing the country by stage coach was brought to life in the story Roughing It Twain’s first daughter, Susy, is born and a year later built a beautiful house in Hartford, CT
For the next 17 years Twain, his wife and three daughters made the house their home “To us, our house… had a heart and soul, and eyes to see us with; and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence and lived in its grace and the peace of its benediction”
Although living in Hartford Twain found the most solitude at his sister in-law’s house in upstate New York were he wrote most of his famous books Twain’s style captured the conscience of America by writing about his own history, political corruption, greed, slavery and the Reconstruction era
“I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.” I didnt attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of it. Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
Twain’s earlier life was the back drop in his first book, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” in which the book explores the mischievous and wild deeds of a young boy coming of age In 1873 he wrote “The Gilded Age” that examined the conscience of American greed and political corruption that was so prevalent in that period
In 1880, Twain writes the book “The Tramp Abroad” depicting his travels through Europe In 1882, he turns out another 2 books that deal with the social injustices and class relations in America called “The Prince and the Pauper and again in 1889 with “Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Twain rounds out his forties with two books that bring him back to his Mississippi years “Life on the Mississippi” in 1883 and the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in 1885
After writing “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” Twain, in 1892, wrote “The American Claimant” “The American Claimant” was written with the help of a phonographic dictation machine.
In 1884, Twain started his own publishing firm in order to retain the money he was paying publishers to publish his books Huckleberry Finn was the first book published by his new found company Ulysses S. Grant published his memoir papers through Twain’s company and was very profitable for Twain and the Grant estate
Twain made some bad investments; one being, investing $250,000 in the Paige typesetting machine in 1891,Twain’s bad investments on new inventions was the cause of going bankrupt and having to pack up his family and move to Europe were it was cheaper to live in hopes of paying of creditors by lecturing he never returned until 1900
In 1894, Twain writes “Tom Sawyer Abroad” that entails Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn traveling to Africa in a hot air balloon This same year he published “The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” which again took on the social issues of slavery c. 1895 his daughter Susy dies from meningitis
Twain writes his last novel “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc” which he considers one of his most important pieces of work In 1897, Twain writes another travel book called “ Following the Equator” describing ill treatment of weaker governments around the world by European powers
In 19oo Twain finishes paying off his debts and returns to America and describes himself an anti-imperialist and becomes vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League Twain died at the age 0f 74 of a heart attack at his home in Redding Conn. and buried far from Hannibal, MO in Elmira, New York
Honorary M.A., 1888, Litt.D., 1901, both Yale University; LL.D., University of Missouri, 1902; named to American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1904; D.Litt., Oxford University, 1907.
Tom Sawyer, Detective, as Told by Huck Finn, and Other Stories, 1896 The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, and Other Stories and Essays, 1900 A Double Barrelled Detective Story, 1902 A Dogs Tale, 1904 Extracts from Adams Diary, 1904 Eves Diary Translated from the Original Ms, 1906
The Gilded Age, 1873 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876 The Prince and The Pauper, 1881 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1884 The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, 1889 The American Claimant, 1892
Tom Sawyer Abroad, by Huck Finn, 1894 Puddn’head Wilson, 1894 Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, 1896 Extract from CaptainStormfield’s Visit to Heaven, 1909 The Mysterious Stranger: A Romance, 1916 Simon Wheeler: Detective, 1963
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, 1867 Screamers: A Gathering of Scraps of Humour, Delicious Bits, and Short Stories, 1871 Eye Openers: Good Things, Immensely Funny Sayings, and Stories, 1871 Merry Tales, 1892 The 1,000,000 Pound Bank-Note, and Other New Stories, 1893
The $30,000 Bequest, 1906 A Horses Tale, 1907 Short Stories of Mark Twain, 1967 A Story without an End, 1986
Twains last ten years of his life were probably his darkest. He becamedisgusted and disgruntled at how greedy people could be and the cruelty inwhich they treated each other in order to attain any amount of success.Some people considered Twain a traitor because of his anti- governmentspeeches and writings. Some of his works were never published because,some say, publishing houses feared a backlash from the government or thatthey were trying to shield his famous him and his reputation. He becameinsensitive to his family and friends and demanded to be treated as anAmerican icon from admirers. His Honorary Degree’s from both Yale andOxford only added to his self worth. Twain was the best known writer around the world in his time. We can forma picture in our minds from Twain’s writings of how the world was changingduring the Reconstruction Era and the political atmosphere that contributedto that change.
http://www.masshist.org/ http://www.marktwainhouse.org/man/biography_main.ph http://www.historyaccess.com/marktwain-histor.html George Perkins/ Barbara Perkins: The American Tradition in Literature http://www.history.com/topics/steamboat http://people.brandeis.edu/~teuber/twainbio.html http://etext.virginia.edu/railton/wilson/pwhompg.html