Great Thinkers: Mark Twain

Samuel L. Clemens was a writer who lived from 1835–1910 during the Victorian age and penned under the name of Mark Twain. His pen name happens to be a riverboat term which translates to two fathoms (12 feet) in depth. He was born at Florida, Missouri and his family moved to Hannibal,Missouri when he was very young. Since that time until his death, he traveled the world with supposedly the longest stay being in Hartford, Connecticut. He wrote two major classics of American literature, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In total, he write about 28 separate books as well as several collections of short stories. He also worked as a riverboat pilot, journalist, lecturer, entrepreneur and inventor. He loved science and technology and developed a friendship with Nikola Tesla as well as becoming acquainted with Thomas Edison. Though he had much success in his life, he also had his share of troubles both financial and personal. He encountered and lived through many personal conflicts that shaped who he was and which influenced his writing. His father died when he was young and his family struggled with financial difficulties. Throughout his life, he also lost several children and in 1904 he also lost his wife, Livy after 34 years of marriage. These are some of the problems which contributed to his becoming bitter and depressed in later years of his life. He died at the age of 74 years old at his country home in Redding, Connecticut.

One point of trivia is that Halley’s Comet was in the sky both at the time of his birth and later again in his death. Hopefully the little I have provided here as sparked your interest in Clemens as a man and you will go on to learn more about his life as well as his literature.

You can read more about his life at the Mark Twain Museum Website.


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