The Sage of Hannibal was born in Florida, Missouri, on Nov. 30, 1835, and later died in 1910. He was born and died during or near appearances of Halley's Comet.

He spent some time as a riverboat captain. This shows in his writing, where life on the river is a constant theme. He is best known for his books for children and teenagers, (although he did not necessarily write them with younger audiences in mind); Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, and A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court are considered American classics.

He is well known for his sense of humor. While he is indeed a good writer, it was his fine sense of comedy that made him famous, and kept him popular for nearly a hundred years. Here are some quotes:

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."

"The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them."

"Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."

"If God had meant for us to be naked, we'd have been born that way."

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

And yes, his real name was Samuel Clemens.