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Mark Twain. Samuel Clemens(1835-1910), who used the pseudonym Mark Twain, was raised in Hannibal, Missouri. He was the sixth of seven children. Only three of his siblings survived childhood.

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mark twain

Mark Twain

Samuel Clemens(1835-1910), who used the pseudonym Mark Twain, was raised in Hannibal, Missouri. He was the sixth of seven children. Only three of his siblings survived childhood.

He joined the union and educated himself in public libraries in the evenings, finding wider sources of information than he would have at a conventional school.

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Twain met Charles Langdon, who showed him a picture of his sister Olivia; Twain claimed to have fallen in love at first sight. They met in 1868, were engaged a year later, and married in February 1870 in Elmira, New York.
  • The couple lived in Buffalo, New York from 1869 to 1871. Twain owned a stake in the Buffalo Express, and worked as an editor and writer. Their son Langdon died of diphtheria at 19 months.
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Twain began his career writing light, humorous verse but evolved into a grim, almost profane chronicler of the vanities, hypocrisies and murderous acts of mankind.
  • At mid-career, with Huckleberry Finn, he combined rich humor, sturdy narrative and social criticism. Twain was a master at rendering colloquial speech and helped to create and popularize a distinctive American literature built on American themes and language.
  • Many of Mark Twain's works have been suppressed at times for various reasons. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been repeatedly restricted in American high schools, not least for its frequent use of the word "nigger", which was a common term when the book was written.
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which drew on his youth in Hannibal. The character of Tom Sawyer was modeled on Twain as a child, with traces of two schoolmates, John Briggs and Will Bowen. The book also introduced in a supporting role the character of Huckleberry Finn, based on Twain's boyhood friend Tom Blankenship.
  • The Prince and the Pauper, despite a storyline that is omnipresent in film and literature today, was not as well received. Telling the story of two boys born on the same day who are physically identical, the book acts as a social commentary as the prince and pauper switch places.
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In 1906, Twain began his autobiography in the North American Review. Oxford University awarded him a Doctorate in Letters a year later.
  • Twain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910 in Redding, Connecticut
  • Upon hearing of Twain's death, President Taft said: “Mark Twain gave pleasure—real intellectual enjoyment—to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come... His humor was American, but he was nearly as much appreciated by Englishmen and people of other countries as by his own countrymen. He has made an enduring part of American literature.