Mark Twain became one of the most eminent literary pseudonyms of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. His biography is full of amazing events that will be interesting to historians studying his works. He was born at a time when Halley's Comet flashed over the Earth. According to a mysterious coincidence, the second flight of this celestial body over the planet will occur exactly on the day of the writer’s death.
The future classic of American literature was born on November 30, 1835, in the village of Florida, Missouri, in the family of a judge. After the death of his father in 1847, the Clemens remained with great debts. Sam's career started at the age of 12. At first, he aided his elder brother, who began to publish a newspaper where his first articles appeared from time to time.
After spending several years wandering around the country, Samuel got a job as a pilot, swimming on the Mississippi. After the Civil War destroyed the private shipping company, Clemens was forced to abandon the profession that he was ready to devote his life to. The penman fought in the ranks of the people's militia, but after his brother was made the secretary of the governor of Nevada, he went with him to the West.
The desire to get rich led Twain to silver mines, to the ranks of prospectors. However, he did not succeed, starting to work in the newspaper. It was at this time for the first time in his biography a pseudonym “Mark Twain” sounded. Clemens claimed that the latter was taken from the terms of river navigation, which was called the minimum depth suitable for the passage of river vessels. In 1864, San Francisco was a new residence where he already cooperates with a number of periodicals.
The first success comes to Mark Twain in 1865 thanks to the humorous story The Famous Galloping Frog from Calaveras, written for folklore motives. This composition was read in all corners of the country. It was awarded the title of the best product of humorous genre.
A book The Innocents Abroad (1867) strengthened successes in the bookish field, the popularity of which was simply incredible. For a lot of Americans, it was with this collection of travel essays that Mark Twain's whole life was associated. In 1870, a writer came to Buffalo after his marriage to Olivia Langdon. Marriage allowed him to get to know industrialists, representatives of big capital.
In 1876, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer came out a stunning success, while in 1885 its sequel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn appeared. The penman has ceased to be perceived only as the author of brilliant humorous works, wit, and joker. He opens another America where one can face cruelty, violence, injustice, and racism.
The Flowering of Creativity
Inspired by changes in his personal life, the writer easily creates several compositions in the style of realism, fixing his name among classics of the XIX century. The world saw a story The Prince and the Pauper and a book Yankees from Connecticut at the court of King Arthur where history is intertwined with the theme of displacement in the time machine.
In the mid-80s, Samuel Clemens released the bestseller Memoirs, enlightened to the President of the States V.S. Grant. Own printing house existed until the mid-90s until finally went bankrupt in connection with the economic collapse in the country.
During this time, Mark Twain wrote serious historical prose like Personal Memories of Joan of Arc of Louis de Comte, Her Page and Secretary (1896), as well as The Simpson Wilson (1894), Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894), and Tom Sawyer the Detective (1896). The last books of the writer written in a well-defined syllable did not have the same success as the first ones.
His characters, still remaining witty adventurers, already fall into ambiguous situations that require a philosophical approach and uncompromising choice. In 1901, Mark Twain was awarded the degree of Doctor of Literature from Yale University and a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Missouri. For a man who left school at the age of 12, the recognition of his talent by the learned men of famous universities flattered him.
Years of Sunset
In 1894, Mark Twain’s publishing company went bankrupt, which prompted him to seek other sources of income urgently. He had to make extremely tedious trips, during which he actively spoke to the followers. Once again seeing the world, a litterateur becomes a passionate exposer of imperial ambitions, colonial policy of the United States, manifested in a series of pamphlets in these years.
The penman marked a violent revolutionary beginning of the century with compositions designed to expose untruth and injustice, namely: The Man Walking in Darkness, United Lynching States, King's Monologue, and King Leopold Monologue in Defense of His Dominance in the Congo. But in the minds of Americans, Twain remained a classic of light literature.
The creativity of this period bears an imprint of pessimism, bitterness, sarcasm, and misanthropic moods, in particular, a story The Mysterious Stranger. In his last work, The Letter from the Earth, published only years after his death, Twain sings atheism with his sarcasm. The writer was buried several times. After another obituary, Clemens even uttered a catchphrase that rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated. He died on April 21, 1910, from an attack of angina pectoris, in Connecticut, Redding.