In 1909, when she was 29 years old, Jean died of a heart attack. Mark Twain was an American author known for his sharp wit and social commentary. Mark Twain Biography Growing Up. In Old Times on the Mississippi (1875), he recalled his childhood in Hannibal with fondness. Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in the town of Florida, Missouri, in 1835. 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. Originally from Florida, United States. He was an unsmiling fellow; according to one legend, young Sam never saw his father laugh. But nothing panned out, and by the middle of 1862, he was flat broke and in need of a regular job. 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 … 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. Though he had written many articles and had worke… A cholera epidemic a few years later killed at least 24 people, a substantial number for a small town. He honed a distinctive narrative style — friendly, funny, irreverent, often satirical and always eager to deflate the pretentious. He would later go by the "pen name" Mark Twain as a writer. Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in the frontier village of 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. But absent or not, throughout 34 years of marriage, Twain had indeed loved his wife. 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. However, later in life he would go by his pseudonym, Mark Twain. If you want to know what happened to him at this time you must read a book he wrote, Life on the Mississippi River. Born in Florida, Missouri in 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens would start a life that would be filled with great satire short stories. "Wheresoever she was, there was Eden," he wrote in tribute to her. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. 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. 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. 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. 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. © 2020 Biography and the Biography logo are registered trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. Then there was the violence of Hannibal itself. His brother Pleasant Han… A Fable. What venue would bring him both excitement and cash? He is regarded as the great humorist of the United States. As the Civil War began, the people of Missouri angrily split between support for the Union and the Confederate States. His mother, by contrast, was a fun-loving, tenderhearted homemaker who whiled away many a winter's night for her family by telling stories. In 1848 Mark Twain became a printer’s apprentice for the Missouri Courier. During his lifetime Mark Twain wrote more than 20 novels. Death from disease during this time was common. 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. Actor Hal Holbrook answers questions in the persona of Mark Twain. Twain is remembered as a great chronicler of American life in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Then, in 1857, 21-year-old Twain fulfilled a dream: He began learning the art of piloting a steamboat on the Mississippi. 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. Twain suffered volcanic rages and nasty bouts of paranoia, and he experienced many periods of depressed indolence, which he tried to assuage by smoking cigars, reading in bed and playing endless hours of billiards and cards. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was an American humorist, writer, publisher, entrepreneur, lecturer, and publisher. 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. Judging from his own speculative ventures in silver mining, business, and publishing, it was a curse that Sam Clemens never quite outgrew. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published in 1876, and soon thereafter he began writing a sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 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. Author of. If you continue browsing the site, you agree to the use of cookies on this website. 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. "If he treasured Livy's comradeship as much as he often said, why did he spend so much time away from her?". However, his service was cut short in 1861 by the outbreak of the Civil War, which halted most civilian traffic on the river. 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. 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. "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. 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. Young Samuel grew up in the small town of Hannibal, Missouri with his sister and two brothers. This was an old term used by pilots to show how deep the water is where they throw the lead. 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.'. Mark Twain - short biography and literary slide show. The Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, is now a popular attraction and is designated a National Historic Landmark. John Clemens, by all reports, was a serious man who seldom demonstrated affection. 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. Twain's financial failings, reminiscent in some ways of his father's, had serious consequences for his state of mind. A Helpless Situation. Mark Twain was born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri. 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. A Short Biography of Mark Twain. Some of these later works have enduring merit, and his unfinished work The Chronicle of Young Satan has fervent admirers today. However, Twain worried about being a Westerner. His memory faltered. He was one of the couple’s seven children, but only three of his siblings survived childhood. In 1869, The Innocents Abroad was published, and it became a nationwide bestseller. 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). 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. 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. In 1847 Clemens’s father died of pneumonia. Twain loved his career — it was exciting, well-paying and high-status, roughly akin to flying a jetliner today. 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. Mark Twain Worksheets This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Mark Twain across 19 in-depth pages. Twain also wrote numerous short stories, most notably “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” (1865). In private he demonstrated a stunning insensitivity to friends and loved ones. Only three of his siblings survived childhood: Orion(1825–1897), Henry (1838–1858), and Pamela (1827–1904). My parents removed to Missouri in the early ’thir Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri. 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. Mark Twain died on April 21, 1910. He lived sparingly in the Ament household but was allowed to continue his schooling and, from time to time, indulge in boyish amusements. Updates? Mark Twain short biography. Mark Twain passed away on April 21, 1910, but has a following still today. Biography. His publishing house eventually went bankrupt. A Short Biography of Mark Twain Mark Twain was born Samuel Clemens in 1835 in Florida, Missouri, USA. In the meantime, the debts accumulated. Some of his early sketches, such as “The Dandy Frightening the Squatter” (1852), circulated in local newspapers. A Humane Word From Satan. Mark Twain, the writer, adventurer and wily social critic born Samuel Clemens, wrote the novels 'Adventures of Tom Sawyer' and 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.’. 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. A Cure For The Blues. A few years after his birth, he would move to Hannibal, MO. In 1839 his family moved to the Mississippi port town of Hannibal in search of greater economic opportunities. 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. 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. Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, USA, to Jane (née Lampton) and John Marshall Clemens. Our Stores Are Open Book Annex Membership Educators Gift Cards Stores & Events Help Auto Suggestions are available once you type at least 3 letters. These events would find a way into his short stories and books‚ particularly Roughing It. 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. M ark Twain himself was Twain’s first successful work of fiction. She became head of the household in 1847 when John died unexpectedly. Writing to a friend shortly after his wedding, Twain could not believe his good luck: "I have ... the only sweetheart I have ever loved ... she is the best girl, and the sweetest, and gentlest, and the daintiest, and she is the most perfect gem of womankind.". Samuel Langhorne Clemens left Hannibal when he was 18 to work in New York City and Philadelphia. A Dog's Tale. Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel Clemens. 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. There were local diversions as well—fishing, picnicking, and swimming. When Twain was about four, his family moved again, this time to Hannibal, Missouri, a small town of about five hundred people. The sixth child of John Marshall Clemens and Jane Lampton, Twain lived in Florida, Missouri until the age of four, at which time his family relocated to the town of Hannibal in hopes of improving … The loss broke his heart, and adding to his grief, he was out of the country when it happened. 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). "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. 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. "Much of the last decade of his life, he lived in hell," wrote Hamlin Hill. Childhood along the Mississippi. He started his career as a typesetter at a newspaper, worked as a printer, a riverboat pilot, and then turned to gold mining. Among those companions was Tom Blankenship, an affable but impoverished boy whom Twain later identified as the model for the character Huckleberry Finn. Steamboats arrived there three times a day, tooting their whistles; circuses, minstrel shows and revivalists paid visits; a decent library was available; and tradesmen such as blacksmiths and tanners practiced their entertaining crafts for all to see. He wrote a fair amount but was unable to finish most of his projects. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? 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. “Afraid I wouldn’t live?” “No,” she said, “afraid you would.”. 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. Today he is best remembered as the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). Mark Twain Biography. Mark Twain Tribute Photos of Twain set to music. 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. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. 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. But while those years were gilded with awards, they also brought him much anguish. 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. They were married in 1823. Mark Twain (November 30th, 1835) grew up in Florida, MS in a family of Jane and John Clements beside many brothers and sisters. Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) is best known as the Roman general who was a lover of Cleopatra. Missouri was a slave state, and, though the young Clemens had been reassured that chattel slavery was an institution approved by God, he nevertheless carried with him memories of cruelty and sadness that he would reflect upon in his maturity. At the age of 11, his father died and the next year Twain had to gain employment as a printer’s apprentice. Perhaps it was a sign of the infant's rise to literary fame. Learn more about his biography, writing style, and major works. In July 1861, Twain climbed on board a stagecoach and headed for Nevada and California, where he would live for the next five years. A Burlesque Biography. Huck Finn required years to conceptualize and write, and Twain often put it aside. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called “The Great American Novel”. https://www.biography.com/writer/mark-twain. A Letter To The Secretary Of The Treasury. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. 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. John Clemens’s death contributed further to the family’s financial instability. - Mark Twain Biography and List of Works - Mark Twain Books Occasionally, he contributed sketches and articles to the Journal. Nevertheless, by the time Clemens was 13, his boyhood had effectively come to an end. When he was four years old, his family moved to Hannibal, a town on the Mississippi River much like the towns depicted in his two most famous novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). "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. Twain knew his way around a newspaper office, so that September, he went to work as a reporter for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. 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. 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.". His youngest daughter, Jean, was diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Twain hoped that she would "reform" him, a mere humorist, from his rustic ways. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. 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. Biography of Mark Twain A 5-part internet biography of Twain. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. In 1885, he triumphed as a book publisher by issuing the bestselling memoirs of former President Ulysses S. Grant, who had just died. A licensed steamboat pilot by 1859, he soon found regular employment plying the shoals and channels of the great river. Probably the most famous American of the late 19th century, he was much photographed and applauded wherever he went. When Huck Finn finally was published in 1884, Livy gave it a chilly reception. When he was 4 years old, his family moved to nearby Hannibal, a bustling river town of 1,000 people. His answer: the great American West. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twai n (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910) was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. Twain became one of the best-known storytellers in the West. Mark Rothko is best known as one of the central figures of the Abstract Expressionist movement in American art in the 1950s and '60s. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mark-Twain, 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”. His next major work, in 1894, was The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, a somber novel that some observers described as "bitter.". 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. 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. He wrote a great many books and signed whatever he wrote with a queer name—MARK TWAIN. 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. 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. Twain opted for the latter, joining the Confederate Army in June 1861 but serving for only a couple of weeks until his volunteer unit disbanded. Twain was of Cornish, English, and Scots-Irish descent. In 1889, Twain published A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, a science-fiction/historical novel about ancient England. His sister Margaret died of a fever when Clemens was not yet four years old; three years later his brother Benjamin died. 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. Twain is widely considered one of the greatest American writers of all time. 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). Mark Zuckerberg is co-founder and CEO of the social-networking website Facebook, as well as one of the world's youngest billionaires. Mark Twain was an American humorist, novelist, and travel writer. Livy, like many people during that time, took pride in her pious, high-minded, genteel approach to life. Samuel Langhorne Clemens better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. His parents met when his father moved to Missouri. He wrote 28 books and numerous short stories, letters and sketches. Biography takes you deep into the life of the great Mark Twain 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. Thankfully, Twain's glorious "low-minded" Western voice broke through on occasion. The town, situated on the Mississippi River, was in many ways a splendid place to grow up. A short biography of Mark Twain, author of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, written in easy-to-read English for younger readers. In 1883 he put out Life on the Mississippi, an interesting but safe travel book. He was also a riverboat pilot, journalist, lecturer, entrepreneur and inventor. 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. 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. For many years, Twain's relationship with middle daughter Clara was distant and full of quarrels. In this magisterial full-scale biography of America’s greatest storyteller and satirist, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Fred Kaplan refashions our image of Mark Twain and etches a vibrant portrait of a singular personality who created some of the … "The full nature of his feelings toward her is puzzling," wrote scholar R. Kent Rasmussen. 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. Perhaps it was the romantic visionary in him that caused Clemens to recall his youth in Hannibal with such fondness. Omissions? He was the sixth of seven children of Jane (née Lampton; 1803–1890), a native of Kentucky, and John Marshall Clemens (1798–1847), a native of Virginia. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). 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 worked briefly as a typesetter in St. Louis in 1853 before traveling to New York City to work at a large printing shop. 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. Twain died on April 21, 1910, at the age of 74. Insofar as Clemens could be said to have inherited his sense of humour, it would have come from his mother, not his father. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. When he … 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. DOWNLOAD BIOGRAPHY'S MARK TWAIN FACT CARD. 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.