He was lauded as the "greatest humorist this country has produced",  and William Faulkner called him "the father of American literature ". He served an apprenticeship with a printer and then worked as a typesetter, contributing articles to the newspaper of his older brother Orion Clemens.
He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. The short story brought international attention and was even translated into French. Twain earned a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, but he invested in ventures that lost most of it—such as the Paige Compositor , a mechanical typesetter that failed because of its complexity and imprecision.
He filed for bankruptcy in the wake of these financial setbacks, but he eventually overcame his financial troubles with the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers.
He eventually paid all his creditors in full, even though his bankruptcy relieved him of having to do so. Twain was born shortly after an appearance of Halley's Comet , and he predicted that he would "go out with it" as well; he died the day after the comet returned. His parents met when his father moved to Missouri , and they were married in His sister Margaret — died when Twain was three, and his brother Benjamin — died three years later.
Mark Twain - Biography (Part 1)
His brother Pleasant Hannibal died at three weeks of age. When he was four, Twain's family moved to Hannibal, Missouri ,  a port town on the Mississippi River that inspired the fictional town of St.
His father was an attorney and judge, who died of pneumonia in , when Twain was Louis , and Cincinnati , joining the newly formed International Typographical Union , the printers trade union. He educated himself in public libraries in the evenings, finding wider information than at a conventional school.
Twain describes his boyhood in Life on the Mississippi , stating that "there was but one permanent ambition" among his comrades: to be a steamboatman.
Pilot was the grandest position of all. The pilot, even in those days of trivial wages, had a princely salary — from a hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty dollars a month, and no board to pay. Steamboat pilot Horace E.
Bixby took Twain on as a cub pilot to teach him the river between New Orleans and St. Twain studied the Mississippi, learning its landmarks, how to navigate its currents effectively, and how to read the river and its constantly shifting channels, reefs, submerged snags, and rocks that would "tear the life out of the strongest vessel that ever floated".
Piloting also gave him his pen name from " mark twain ", the leadsman's cry for a measured river depth of two fathoms 12 feet , which was safe water for a steamboat.
As a young pilot, Clemens served on the steamer A.
Independent culture newsletter
Chambers with Grant Marsh , who became famous for his exploits as a steamboat captain on the Missouri River. The two liked each other, and admired one another, and maintained a correspondence for many years after Clemens left the river.
While training, Samuel convinced his younger brother Henry to work with him, and even arranged a post of mud clerk for him on the steamboat Pennsylvania. On June 13, , the steamboat's boiler exploded; Henry succumbed to his wounds on June Twain claimed to have foreseen this death in a dream a month earlier,  : which inspired his interest in parapsychology ; he was an early member of the Society for Psychical Research. He continued to work on the river and was a river pilot until the Civil War broke out in , when traffic was curtailed along the Mississippi River.
At the start of hostilities, he enlisted briefly in a local Confederate unit. He later wrote the sketch " The Private History of a Campaign That Failed ", describing how he and his friends had been Confederate volunteers for two weeks before disbanding. Twain describes the episode in his book Roughing It.
Orion became secretary to Nevada Territory governor James W. Nye in , and Twain joined him when he moved west. The brothers traveled more than two weeks on a stagecoach across the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains , visiting the Mormon community in Salt Lake City. Twain's journey ended in the silver-mining town of Virginia City, Nevada , where he became a miner on the Comstock Lode. Johnson's; music" and signed it "Mark Twain".
His experiences in the American West inspired Roughing It , written during —71 and published in He may have been romantically involved with the poet Ina Coolbrith. His first success as a writer came when his humorous tall tale "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" was published on November 18, , in the New York weekly The Saturday Press , bringing him national attention. A year later, he traveled to the Sandwich Islands present-day Hawaii as a reporter for the Sacramento Union.
His letters to the Union were popular and became the basis for his first lectures. In , a local newspaper funded his trip to the Mediterranean aboard the Quaker City , including a tour of Europe and the Middle East. He wrote a collection of travel letters which were later compiled as The Innocents Abroad It was on this trip that he met fellow passenger Charles Langdon, who showed him a picture of his sister Olivia.
Twain later claimed to have fallen in love at first sight. Upon returning to the United States, Twain was offered honorary membership in Yale University 's secret society Scroll and Key in Twain and Olivia Langdon corresponded throughout She rejected his first marriage proposal, but they were married in Elmira, New York in February ,  where he courted her and managed to overcome her father's initial reluctance. The couple lived in Buffalo, New York , from to He owned a stake in the Buffalo Express newspaper and worked as an editor and writer.
They had three daughters: Susy — , Clara — ,  and Jean — Twain moved his family to Hartford, Connecticut, where he arranged the building of a home starting in Also, he smoked cigars constantly, and Susan did not want him to do so in her house.
Twain wrote many of his classic novels during his 17 years in Hartford — and over 20 summers at Quarry Farm. The couple's marriage lasted 34 years until Olivia's death in All of the Clemens family are buried in Elmira's Woodlawn Cemetery.
Twain was fascinated with science and scientific inquiry. He developed a close and lasting friendship with Nikola Tesla , and the two spent much time together in Tesla's laboratory.
Twain patented three inventions, including an "Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments" to replace suspenders and a history trivia game.
Twain was an early proponent of fingerprinting as a forensic technique, featuring it in a tall tale in Life on the Mississippi and as a central plot element in the novel Pudd'nhead Wilson This type of historical manipulation became a trope of speculative fiction as alternate histories.
Part of the footage was used in The Prince and the Pauper , a two-reel short film. It is the only known existing film footage of Twain. Twain made a substantial amount of money through his writing, but he lost a great deal through investments.
Mark twain book published 100 years
He invested mostly in new inventions and technology, particularly the Paige typesetting machine. It was a beautifully engineered mechanical marvel that amazed viewers when it worked, but it was prone to breakdowns.
He lost the bulk of his book profits, as well as a substantial portion of his wife's inheritance. Twain also lost money through his publishing house, Charles L. Webster and Company , which enjoyed initial success selling the memoirs of Ulysses S.
Fewer than copies were sold. Twain and his family closed down their expensive Hartford home in response to the dwindling income and moved to Europe in June William M. Twain, Olivia, and their daughter Susy were all faced with health problems, and they believed that it would be of benefit to visit European baths. During that period, Twain returned four times to New York due to his enduring business troubles.
Twain's writings and lectures enabled him to recover financially, combined with the help of his friend, Henry Huttleston Rogers. Rogers first made him file for bankruptcy in April , then had him transfer the copyrights on his written works to his wife to prevent creditors from gaining possession of them.
Finally, Rogers took absolute charge of Twain's money until all his creditors were paid. Twain accepted an offer from Robert Sparrow Smythe  and embarked on a year-long, around the world lecture tour in July  to pay off his creditors in full, although he was no longer under any legal obligation to do so. The first part of the itinerary took him across northern America to British Columbia , Canada, until the second half of August.
For the second part, he sailed across the Pacific Ocean. His scheduled lecture in Honolulu , Hawaii had to be canceled due to a cholera epidemic.
His three months in India became the centerpiece of his page book Following the Equator. In the second half of July , he sailed back to England, completing his circumnavigation of the world begun 14 months before.
Twain and his family spent four more years in Europe, mainly in England and Austria October to May , with longer spells in London and Vienna. Clara had wished to study the piano under Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna. Jonas Henrik Kellgren, a Swedish osteopathic practitioner in Belgravia.
They were persuaded to spend the summer at Kellgren's sanatorium by the lake in the Swedish village of Sanna. Coming back in fall, they continued the treatment in London, until Twain was convinced by lengthy inquiries in America that similar osteopathic expertise was available there.
Mark Twain wrote an autobiography & intentionally had it published 100 years after his death
Twain wrote that he had "never seen any place that was so satisfactorily situated, with its noble trees and stretch of country, and everything that went to make life delightful, and all within a biscuit's throw of the metropolis of the world.
Twain was in great demand as a featured speaker, performing solo humorous talks similar to modern stand-up comedy. In the late s, he spoke to the Savage Club in London and was elected an honorary member.
He was told that only three men had been so honored, including the Prince of Wales , and he replied: "Well, it must make the Prince feel mighty fine.
Slashdot Top Deals
In , Twain was honored at a banquet in Montreal , Canada where he made reference to securing a copyright. The reason for the Toronto visits was to secure Canadian and British copyrights for his upcoming book Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ,   to which he had alluded in his Montreal visit.
The reason for the Ottawa visit had been to secure Canadian and British copyrights for Life on the Mississippi. Twain lived in his later years at 14 West 10th Street in Manhattan. Olivia's death in and Jean's on December 24, , deepened his gloom.