Mark Twain Biography / Autobiography / Memoir resources

Full Name: Mr. Samuel Langhorne Clemens
Date of Birth: November 30, 1835
Place of Birth: Florida, Missouri, USA
Died: April 21, 1910
Place of Death: Redding, Connecticut, USA
Classification: Artists & Entertainers


Short Biography of Mark Twain

Although the origin of the pen name of Mark Twain has always been under debate, what is important is how Samuel Clemens lived, breathed, and wrote literature of consequence and satire, while using keen observations, wit, and humor that would forever impact literature worldwide.

Born in Florida, Missouri, Twain had an ideal childhood of exploration and adventure once he moved to Hannibal. Much like his tales of Huckleberry Finn and the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, he spent long days beside the always busy, always interesting banks of the Mississippi River. However, upon the death of his father, who was a lawyer, young Samuel Clemens had to quit school and work as a typesetter in order for his family make ends-meet.

The issue of slavery, ethics, and morals are apparent in his works of literature and nonfiction. This is most likely attributed to the fact that Missouri had become a slave state, and being along the Mississippi would have given Twain exposure to the hard labor the slaves contributed to the growth of lower, Mid-West America.

Mark Twain then became a pilot just before the start of the American Civil War. He earned a decent living, but once the war broke out, he first gathered friends and formed a small confederate militia group, which only lasted two weeks. Following, he decided to move out west with his brother who had been appointed as governor of the new territory of Nevada. His trip west with his brother inspired much of Twain’s later work entitled, Roughing It.

Twain was also an inventor and patented a few of his useful inventions. However, he did lose a lot of money on some bad investments, especially the sum of around $200,000 to a new type of printing press that didn’t work well at all. Later, he joined the American Anti-Imperialist league and spoke out over the United States seeking out other territories, namely in the Philippines. Twain’s works are still read today in classrooms across the globe. Even though attempts to ban his literature have sometimes been agreed on, his works have been found to not only live beyond a certain time period, but are also able to remind readers where they come from and where they are going.

Much of Twain’s work is autobiographical in nature as it answers some questions on how the artist felt about certain societal issues. Although he didn’t publish a lot of nonfiction at the time, except for some magazine work that helped him to have a cash flow, he continued writing fiction that seized the attention of America. With his great skill at capturing the colloquial speech of the day, along with his clever and sharp wit, Twain was one of the most famous Americans to emerge after the Civil War and is still seen by many as the first true pioneer in American Literature.

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