Mark Twain
MARK TWAIN (1835-1910)
Perhaps America's best known literary figure, Mark Twain enjoys a popular following as much for his personality as for his books. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, he was brought up in Hannibal where his childhood experiences provided the basis for the two masterpieces 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' and 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'. At the age of twelve the death of his father forced him to leave school and take work as a printer's apprentice to help support the family. But he quickly tired of this life and left to spend four years as a river pilot on the Mississipppi - his pen name coming from the characteristic call of a leadsman on the river. Heading west, Twain spent the Civil War adventuring in Nevada and California with spells as a miner, prospector and reporter. Fame arrived with his story 'The Celbrated Jumping Frog...' but it was an account of his travels of 1867 around France, Italy and Palestine - 'The Innocents Abroad' - that cemented his reputation and made his fortune. In 1870, he married into an old Connecticut family and settled in Hartford. His worldwide fame allowed him lucrative international lecture tours but Twain continued to write steadily for the rest of his life.
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