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. "The full nature of his feelings toward her is puzzling," wrote scholar R. Kent Rasmussen. "Wheresoever she was, there was Eden," he wrote in tribute to her. 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. He wrote a fair amount but was unable to finish most of his projects. 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. Occasionally, he contributed sketches and articles to the Journal. p C H A P T E R 1 I was born the 30 th of n ovember, 1835, in the almost invisible village of Florida, Missouri. Twain stayed in Hannibal until age 17. 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. It was the diminishing fortunes of the Clemens family that led them in 1839 to move 30 miles (50 km) east from Florida, Missouri, to the Mississippi River port town of Hannibal, where there were greater opportunities. The family was having a tough time since their breadwinner had died which made Mark take on the leading role in the family and got a job as a printer. There were local diversions as well—fishing, picnicking, and swimming. Mark Rothko is best known as one of the central figures of the Abstract Expressionist movement in American art in the 1950s and '60s. His next step up the ladder of success came in 1867, when he took a five-month sea cruise in the Mediterranean, writing humorously about the sights for American newspapers with an eye toward getting a book out of the trip. 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. These events would find a way into his short stories and books‚ particularly Roughing It. 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 June 1904, while Twain traveled, Livy died after a long illness. His answer: the great American West. Twain became somewhat bitter in his later years, even while projecting an amiable persona to his public. 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. 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. If you continue browsing the site, you agree to the use of cookies on this website. The couple settled in Buffalo and later had four children. He wrote a great many books and signed whatever he wrote with a queer name—MARK TWAIN. DOWNLOAD BIOGRAPHY'S MARK TWAIN FACT CARD. He was one of the couple’s seven children, but only three of his siblings survived childhood. Apart from family worries, the social environment was hardly idyllic. 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. He published his works with the pen name Mark Twain. Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel Clemens. He was the sixth of seven children born to John Clemens, a lawyer, and his wife Jane, although three of Samuel’s siblings died in childhood. In 1839 his family moved to the Mississippi port town of Hannibal in search of greater economic opportunities. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. In 1885, he triumphed as a book publisher by issuing the bestselling memoirs of former President Ulysses S. Grant, who had just died. But absent or not, throughout 34 years of marriage, Twain had indeed loved his wife. In 1847 Clemens’s father died of pneumonia. "Much of the last decade of his life, he lived in hell," wrote Hamlin Hill. In the summers, Clemens visited his uncle John Quarles’s farm, near Florida, Missouri, where he played with his cousins and listened to stories told by the slave Uncle Daniel, who served, in part, as a model for Jim in Huckleberry Finn. A Fable. A Burlesque Biography. Mark Twain died on April 21, 1910. The loss broke his heart, and adding to his grief, he was out of the country when it happened. 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 July 1861, Twain climbed on board a stagecoach and headed for Nevada and California, where he would live for the next five years. His most famous novels included The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), which are loosely based on Twain’s boyhood experiences in Missouri. We strive for accuracy and fairness. When Huck Finn finally was published in 1884, Livy gave it a chilly reception. The town, situated on the Mississippi River, was in many ways a splendid place to grow up. 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 … He churned out news stories, editorials and sketches, and along the way adopted the pen name Mark Twain — steamboat slang for 12 feet of water. 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 Short Biography of Mark Twain Mark Twain was born Samuel Clemens in 1835 in Florida, Missouri, USA. 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. Insofar as Clemens could be said to have inherited his sense of humour, it would have come from his mother, not his father. Computer scientist and engineer Mark Dean is credited with helping develop a number of landmark technologies, including the color PC monitor, the Industry Standard Architecture system bus and the first gigahertz chip. He is regarded as the great humorist of the United States. - Mark Twain Biography and List of Works - Mark Twain Books Mark Twain Biography. A licensed steamboat pilot by 1859, he soon found regular employment plying the shoals and channels of the great river. At first, he prospected for silver and gold, convinced that he would become the savior of his struggling family and the sharpest-dressed man in Virginia City and San Francisco. From there he went to Philadelphia and on to Washington, D.C.; then he returned to New York, only to find work hard to come by because of fires that destroyed two publishing houses. Mark Twain (November 30th, 1835) grew up in Florida, MS in a family of Jane and John Clements beside many brothers and sisters. Biography. Mark Twain Biography. When he was 4 years old, his family moved to nearby Hannibal, a bustling river town of 1,000 people. This was an old term used by pilots to show how deep the water is where they throw the lead. Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) is best known as the Roman general who was a lover of Cleopatra. John Clemens worked as a storekeeper, lawyer, judge and land speculator, dreaming of wealth but never achieving it, sometimes finding it hard to feed his family. Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri. Biography takes you deep into the life of the great Mark Twain “Afraid I wouldn’t live?” “No,” she said, “afraid you would.”. "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. Twain was of Cornish, English, and Scots-Irish descent. But while those years were gilded with awards, they also brought him much anguish. 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. 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. He lavished many hours on this and other business ventures, and was certain that his efforts would be rewarded with enormous wealth, but he never achieved the success he expected. You are likely familiar with the name but you might be wondering “who was MarkTwain?” It was the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a famous American writer, humorist, lecturer, and journalist. She became head of the household in 1847 when John died unexpectedly. However, violence was commonplace, and young Twain witnessed much death: When he was nine years old, he saw a local man murder a cattle rancher, and at 10 he watched an enslaved person die after a white overseer struck him with a piece of iron. What venue would bring him both excitement and cash? Mark Twain (a.k.a., Samuel Longhorne Clemens) was born in the little town of Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835, shortly after his family had moved there from Tennessee. In Old Times on the Mississippi (1875), he recalled his childhood in Hannibal with fondness. Author of. Another cause of his angst, perhaps, was his unconscious anger at himself for not giving undivided attention to his deepest creative instincts, which centered on his Missouri boyhood. "use strict";(function(){var insertion=document.getElementById("citation-access-date");var date=new Date().toLocaleDateString(undefined,{month:"long",day:"numeric",year:"numeric"});insertion.parentElement.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(date),insertion)})(); Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. As he remembered it in “Old Times on the Mississippi” (1875), the village was a “white town drowsing in the sunshine of a summer’s morning,” until the arrival of a riverboat suddenly made it a hive of activity. His youngest daughter, Jean, was diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Hannibal inspired several of Twain's fictional locales, including "St. Petersburg" in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. 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. Mark Twain was an American author known for his sharp wit and social commentary. Childhood along the Mississippi. Then, in 1857, 21-year-old Twain fulfilled a dream: He began learning the art of piloting a steamboat on the Mississippi. Professor Emeritus of English, University of Missouri, Columbia. He was buried in Elmira, New York. Updates? However, Twain worried about being a Westerner. He honed a distinctive narrative style — friendly, funny, irreverent, often satirical and always eager to deflate the pretentious. John Clemens’s death contributed further to the family’s financial instability. Only three of his siblings survived childhood: Orion(1825–1897), Henry (1838–1858), and Pamela (1827–1904). 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. Mark Twain passed away on April 21, 1910, but has a following still today. Twain is remembered as a great chronicler of American life in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Twain's last 15 years were filled with public honors, including degrees from Oxford and Yale. John Clemens opened a store and eventually became a justice of the peace, which entitled him to be called “Judge” but not to a great deal more. He also wrote short stories, essays and several other books, including a study of Joan of Arc. American actor Mark Hamill became famous for his role as Luke Skywalker in the epic film 'Star Wars,' as well as its sequels 'The Empire Strikes Back,' 'Return of the Jedi' and 'The Force Awakens.'. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was an American humorist, writer, publisher, entrepreneur, lecturer, and publisher. Mark Felt was an Associate Director at the FBI who became a secret informant and broke the Watergate story to reporters while disguised as "Deep Throat.". Judging from his own speculative ventures in silver mining, business, and publishing, it was a curse that Sam Clemens never quite outgrew. Thankfully, Twain's glorious "low-minded" Western voice broke through on occasion. Though he had written many articles and had worke… He was of Scots-Irish, English, and Cornish ancestry. If you want to know what happened to him at this time you must read a book he wrote, Life on the Mississippi River. Death from disease during this time was common. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. A Letter To The Secretary Of The Treasury. Mark Twain Tribute Photos of Twain set to music. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published in 1876, and soon thereafter he began writing a sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in the frontier village of Florida, Missouri. 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 boyhood, especially The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). Samuel Langhorne Clemens better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. Although the exact origins of the name are unknown, it is worth noting that Clemens operated riverboats, and mark twain is a nautical term for water found to be two fathoms (12 feet [3.7 metres]) deep: mark (measure) twain (two). Working at a printing house and part-time delivering parcels, … 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. In 1848 Mark Twain became a printer’s apprentice for the Missouri Courier. Bence’s act of courage and kindness served in some measure as a model for Huck’s decision to help the fugitive Jim in Huckleberry Finn. Three years later his elder brother, Orion, bought the Hannibal Journal, and Twain began working for him as a typesetter. Co-founder of the successful startup, Mark Cuban is known as the zealous owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and a star of the TV show 'Shark Tank.'. 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. His brother Pleasant Han… No doubt his temperament was affected by his worries over his financial situation, made all the more distressing by a series of business failures. Elsewhere, Chicago Hope and NCIS. Still, John Clemens believed the Tennessee land he had purchased in the late 1820s (some 70,000 acres [28,000 hectares]) might one day make them wealthy, and this prospect cultivated in the children a dreamy hope. Hemingway's comment refers specifically to the colloquial language of Twain's masterpiece, as for perhaps the first time in America, the vivid, raw, not-so-respectable voice of the common folk was used to create great literature. Writing this work, commented biographer Everett Emerson, freed Twain temporarily from the "inhibitions of the culture he had chosen to embrace.". Twain knew his way around a newspaper office, so that September, he went to work as a reporter for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? Some of his early sketches, such as “The Dandy Frightening the Squatter” (1852), circulated in local newspapers. 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. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Omissions? His memory faltered. The two committed suicide after their defeat by Octavian. © 2020 Biography and the Biography logo are registered trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. My parents removed to Missouri in the early ’thir Mark Twain - short biography and literary slide show. Writing grand tales about Sawyer, Finn and the mighty Mississippi River, Twain explored the American soul with wit, buoyancy and a sharp eye for truth. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! 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. John Clemens, by all reports, was a serious man who seldom demonstrated affection. ", In February 1870, he improved his social status by marrying 24-year-old Olivia (Livy) Langdon, the daughter of a rich New York coal merchant. In 1883 he put out Life on the Mississippi, an interesting but safe travel book. Biography of Mark Twain A 5-part internet biography of Twain. 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. Twain is widely considered one of the greatest American writers of all time. They were married in 1823. Where, he wondered then, would he find his future? Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, USA, to Jane (née Lampton) and John Marshall Clemens. At the age of 11, his father died and the next year Twain had to gain employment as a printer’s apprentice. Mark Twain short biography. A few years after his birth, he would move to Hannibal, MO. Mark Twain. In those years, the country's cultural life was dictated by an Eastern establishment centered in New York City and Boston — a straight-laced, Victorian, moneyed group that cowed Twain. Samuel Langhorne Clemens left Hannibal when he was 18 to work in New York City and Philadelphia. In the meantime, the debts accumulated. Today he is best remembered as the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). His mother, by contrast, was a fun-loving, tenderhearted homemaker who whiled away many a winter's night for her family by telling stories. Huck Finn required years to conceptualize and write, and Twain often put it aside. 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. The man who has not experienced it cannot imagine the curse of it. Twain loved his career — it was exciting, well-paying and high-status, roughly akin to flying a jetliner today. A Monument To Adam. Mark Twain Biography Growing Up. However, his service was cut short in 1861 by the outbreak of the Civil War, which halted most civilian traffic on the river. Nevertheless, by the time Clemens was 13, his boyhood had effectively come to an end. He spent his boyhood in nearby Hannibal, on the banks of the Mississippi River, observing its busy life, fascinated by its romance, but chilled by the violence and bloodshed it bred. In private he demonstrated a stunning insensitivity to friends and loved ones. His mother tried various allopathic and hydropathic remedies on him during those early years, and his recollections of those instances (along with other memories of his growing up) would eventually find their way into Tom Sawyer and other writings. As the Civil War began, the people of Missouri angrily split between support for the Union and the Confederate States. He worked briefly as a typesetter in St. Louis in 1853 before traveling to New York City to work at a large printing shop. A cholera epidemic a few years later killed at least 24 people, a substantial number for a small town. 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. He would later go by the "pen name" Mark Twain as a writer. However, later in life he would go by his pseudonym, Mark Twain. The Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, is now a popular attraction and is designated a National Historic Landmark. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). 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. However, in many ways the childhood of Samuel Clemens was a rough one. "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. His sister Margaret died of a fever when Clemens was not yet four years old; three years later his brother Benjamin died. After the death of his father, Sam Clemens worked at several odd jobs in town, and in 1848 he became a printer’s apprentice for Joseph P. Ament’s Missouri Courier. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Some of these later works have enduring merit, and his unfinished work The Chronicle of Young Satan has fervent admirers today. The Adventures of Mark Twain Indeed, he was one of the most prominent celebrities in the world, traveling widely overseas, including a successful 'round-the-world lecture tour in 1895-96, undertaken to pay off his debts. His publishing house eventually went bankrupt. He got a big break in 1865, when one of his tales about life in a mining camp, "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog," was printed in newspapers and magazines around the country (the story later appeared under various titles). Perhaps it was a sign of the infant's rise to literary fame. But nothing panned out, and by the middle of 1862, he was flat broke and in need of a regular job. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Twain died on April 21, 1910, at the age of 74. Two years later he witnessed the drowning of one of his friends, and only a few days later, when he and some friends were fishing on Sny Island, on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, they discovered the drowned and mutilated body of a fugitive slave. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twai n (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910) was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He lived sparingly in the Ament household but was allowed to continue his schooling and, from time to time, indulge in boyish amusements. 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!, The State Historical Society of Missouri - Biography of Samuel L. Clemens, Mark Twain - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Mark Twain - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches”. A Dog's Tale. Twain also wrote numerous short stories, most notably “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” (1865). A short biography of Mark Twain, author of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, written in easy-to-read English for younger readers. In 1909, when she was 29 years old, Jean died of a heart attack. Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, was the celebrated author of several novels, including two major classics of American literature: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twain became one of the best-known storytellers in the West. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called “The Great American Novel”. Twain's financial failings, reminiscent in some ways of his father's, had serious consequences for his state of mind. A Humane Word From Satan. The gamblers, stevedores, and pilots, the boisterous raftsmen and elegant travelers, all bound for somewhere surely glamorous and exciting, would have impressed a young boy and stimulated his already active imagination. His parents met when his father moved to Missouri. Probably the most famous American of the late 19th century, he was much photographed and applauded wherever he went. A Cure For The Blues. When he … Mark Twain's Short Stories and Essays. Learn more about his biography, writing style, and major works. Our Stores Are Open Book Annex Membership Educators Gift Cards Stores & Events Help Auto Suggestions are available once you type at least 3 letters. M ark Twain himself was Twain’s first successful work of fiction. Mark Twain: Background for His Works A short preview for a biography of Twain's early life. Mark Twain was an American humorist, novelist, and travel writer. Young Samuel grew up in the small town of Hannibal, Missouri with his sister and two brothers. Among those companions was Tom Blankenship, an affable but impoverished boy whom Twain later identified as the model for the character Huckleberry Finn. In 1869, The Innocents Abroad was published, and it became a nationwide bestseller. Because he was sickly, Clemens was often coddled, particularly by his mother, and he developed early the tendency to test her indulgence through mischief, offering only his good nature as bond for the domestic crimes he was apt to commit. 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. 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 hoped that she would "reform" him, a mere humorist, from his rustic ways. When he was eight, a measles epidemic (potentially lethal in those days) was so frightening to him that he deliberately exposed himself to infection by climbing into bed with his friend Will Bowen in order to relieve the anxiety. 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. Television star Mark Harmon has been on long-running shows such as St. He wrote 28 books and numerous short stories, letters and sketches. Actor Hal Holbrook answers questions in the persona of Mark Twain. 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. He is called the father of American Literature by William Faulkner. He started his career as a typesetter at a newspaper, worked as a printer, a riverboat pilot, and then turned to gold mining. For many years, Twain's relationship with middle daughter Clara was distant and full of quarrels. Then there was the violence of Hannibal itself. A Short Biography of Mark Twain. Mark Twain was born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri. These imaginary river towns are complex places: sunlit and exuberant on the one hand, but also vipers' nests of cruelty, poverty, drunkenness, loneliness and soul-crushing boredom — all parts of Twain's boyhood experience. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. An actor reads his words. 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.

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