Sideglances
by SARAH GREENE
Feb 06, 2014 | 435 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AS AN admirer of Samuel Langhorne Clemens 1835 – 1910), better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, an American author and humorist, I have often wished he were alive today to favor us with his salty comments on our times.

He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876 and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885, the latter often called “the Great American Novel.”

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.

One reason I relate to Twain, I think, is that he grew up as a printer.

The following is extracted from his entry in Wikipedia.

He worked as a typesetter and contributed 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 singular lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.

In 1865, his humorous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” was published, based on a story he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp California where he had spent some time as a miner.

THE SHORT story brought international attention, and was even translated into classic Greek. His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.

Though Twain earned a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, he invested in ventures that lost a great deal of money, notably the Paige Compositor, which failed because of its complexity and imprecision.

In the wake of these financial setbacks, he filed for protection from his creditors via bankruptcy, and with the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers eventually overcame his financial troubles.

Twain chose to pay all his pre-bankruptcy creditors in full, though he had no legal responsibility to do so. Twain was born shortly after a visit by Halley’s Comet, and he predicted that he would “go out with it,” too. He died the day following the comet’s subsequent return.

HE WAS lauded as the “greatest American humorist of his age,” and William Faulkner called Twain “the father of American literature.”

Archie Bunker has been known to sing, “Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again. That could also be said of Mark Twain.

Upon hearing of Twain’s death, President William Howard 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.”
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