Samuel Clemens was born November 30th, 1835, in the small village of Florida, Missouri. One of Samuel Clemens’ first stories was called “Sergeant Fathom”. It made fun of Isaiah Sellers, who wrote under the penname Mark Twain. Samuel Clemens adopted this nickname because he was ashamed of how much he had ruined Sellers’ career. At this point, earlier in his life, Twain mainly wrote satirical pieces of writing that he contributed to newspapers such as The Enterprise. They were usually sold to newspapers and not written as books. When Twain was living in San Francisco, he wrote a very offensive article. A writer named James Laird criticized Twain for it. Later they were about to have a duel but Laird backed out at the last minute. Twain also angered the local politicians and policemen in San Francisco by writing criticizing articles about them. Mainly what he wrote was that the politicians and police force were very corrupt. He finally left San Francisco after a lawsuit against one of his articles.
Mark Twain later moved back to San Francisco and published a story called “Jim Smiley and the Jumping Frog”, which was one of the first stories that made him nationally famous. He later went to Honolulu, Hawaii, and wrote a story about a shipwreck which increased his reputation even more. A short while after that, Twain went to the Holy Land on June 8, 1867. He made a deal with a publishing company: He would write letters about his trip and the company would publish them. These letters about his journey to the Holy Land made him a celebrity throughout the whole nation. Innocents Abroad was written from the series of letters about Twain’s trip to Europe and the Holy Land in 1867. It was first published and released July 20, 1869. Innocents Abroad was one of the most best-selling books throughout Mark Twain’s whole lifetime.
At around this point in his life Twain wrote a very well-known book called Roughing It. This was the first book about the West that was mainly about mining. It was about Mark Twain’s experiences from 1861 to 1866 as a gold miner. Roughing It was published in 1872 and it was one of Mark Twain’s first actual books. This was a very important book for Mark Twain, because the book helped change Mark Twain’s writing style and write other types of books besides satires and humorous pieces.
After writing Roughing It, Twain wrote a very popular social comedy called The Gilded Age, which portrayed democracy and corruption in Washington D.C. Later, Mark Twain decided to try writing plays. Mark Twain gave up this job as a playwright when only few of his plays were published. However, Twain wrote a play called The Adventures of Tom Sawyer which later became one of his most famous books. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was released as a book in 1876. At first, it was not a very popular book, but it gained fame over time. After Mark Twain’s death, it became a classic. This book was said to be a very good depiction of youth, it led to what was probably his most famous book, Huckleberry Finn.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published in 1885. It is Mark Twain’s most well-known book. Many great writers and politicians admired this book, including Ernest Hemingway, who said that "this is the one book from which all modern literature came". It is also considered to be one of the "greatest American works of art". Huck Finn is one of the most banned books in the country. It is also one of the most controversial novels written and has attracted an enormous amount of publicity.
One of Mark Twain’s later books, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (my personal favorite), was one of the first books ever written about time travel. It was first published in 1889. The book is about a man in modern times (Mark Twain’s times) who gets transported to the middle ages in England. For some reason Rudyard Kipling, who was generally an admirer of Mark Twain, hated this book. It showed Mark Twain’s fascination with medieval England, and occurred in the same time as his other book, The Prince and the Pauper. The Prince and the Pauper portrays the social classes and slums of medieval England. Both of these books educated people about medieval England.
Later in his life, Mark Twain held many lectures in San Francisco, New York City, Nevada, and many other places. Twain did several daring things during his lectures. An example is when he would tell the same anecdote in the most monotonous and humorless tone possible over and over again until his audience burst out laughing. One time he tried this trick at a Boston
dinner, and it failed. This caused some damage to his career. At around this point in his life, Twain wrote a book called Pudd’nhead Wilson
. This novel’s setting is the village that Sam Clemens grew up in. The book was published in November, 1894. It was not a very popular book when it was first released, and is still not a very well-known book. The novel is about slavery
and Mark Twain’s distaste for it.
Twain and his family moved to Europe for some time later, where he wrote Huckleberry Finn (which took him 8 years to complete) and The Prince and the Pauper. This late in his life, Mark Twain started becoming a philosopher and wrote his autobiography, which was supposed to be read only after he died. After making some bad investments and losing a lot of money, Mark Twain died on April 20, 1910.