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Mark Twain Biography

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who commonly used his pet name Mark Twain, is one of the most celebrated writers of the 19th century because of his great contribution to the world of literature and history. Most of his literary pieces give an insight into the past as they explore events that occurred in his early life.

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His works also give details of the stages through which America went through in order to reach the position it currently occupies in the modern world. Some of his literary works, for example, the Adventures of Tom Sawyer have been classified as some of the best American classics of all time (Teuber 1).

Twain was born to John Clemens and Jane Lampton in 1985, he spent a good portion of his early childhood in Florida Missouri, his birth town. From there, his family shifted to Hannibal in the quest for a better life. In Hannibal, life was not any better because of the nature of treatment that blacks received. He was plagued because of the poor living conditions and his bad habits of smoking; he was also a very mischievous youth who never liked school.

When he was twelve, he became a trainee in a printer’s shop, after which he got a new job in Hannibal Journal where he learnt a lot about the newspaper world, working as a sub editor and writer. His career in the sphere of journalism did not last long though, because after getting a better job in St. Louis as a journalist, he quit and pursued his old dream of a river pilot (Meltzer 1-23).

His career as a pilot was cut short by the onset of the Civil War in 1861, which made him go back home, where he enlisted as Confederate soldier. After a short period of time, he abandoned it and moved to the west with other young people who never wanted to be drafted. Twelve years after the Gold Rush, his ambitions changed again, as he sought a new dream of gold and silver mining.

Years later when this dream became hard to achieve, he reverted back to his old writing career; whereby, he was employed by Virginia City Territorial Enterprise as a reporter and humorist. As he became more famous, he decided to adopt a new pseudonym Mark Twain in the year 1863. Six years later, in 1869, he managed to write his first piece of literature ‘Innocents Abroad.”

Although discouraged by the nature of criticism it received, he continued writing more pieces. In 1870, he joined matrimony with his sweetheart Olivia, with whom they were blessed with four children (Langdon, Susy, Clara, and Jean) (Smith 1-57 and Robinson 52-74).

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Although his family became broken in the mid of 1871, the selling of numerous copies of his collection “The Innocents Abroad” brought his glory back, he was requested by American Publishing Company to write for them a new book. At this time he shifted with his family to Hartford, Connecticut, where he was able to work on “Roughing It”, which was officially published in 1872.

In 1873, a year after the demise of his son Langdon, he wrote and published his first piece of fiction “The Gilded Age”. The success of this book propelled his career to great heights. Between 1876 and 1882, his fame increased even further because of his new published works, namely, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), The Prince and the Pauper (1882), and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) (Scharnhorst 6-74).

His glory in the writing world was cut short in April 1910, because of his sudden demise. Throughout his career, he received numerous awards and three honorary degrees; by the time of his demise, he had written 28 books and numerous stories, majority of which were published after his death (Teuber 1).

Works Cited

Meltzer, Milton. Mark Twain Himself: A pictorial Biography, Colombia, Missouri: University of Missouri Paperback Printing, 2002. Print.

Robinson, Forrest. Mark Twain, Cambridge: University of Cambridge, 1995. Print.

Scharnhorst, Gary, Mark Twain: the Complete interviews, Tuscaloosa Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 2006. Print.

Smith, Harriet. Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume, Los Angels: University of California Press, 2010. Print.

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Teuber, Andreas. Samuel Langhorn Clemens. 2013. Web.

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