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Mark Twain Essay, Research Paper

On November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri the sixth child of John and Jane Clemens was born, Samuel Langhorne. Four years later the family moved to Hannibal, the place Clemens spent his boyhood years. His town was located on the bank of the Mississippi River to which the boy had strong ties. The steamboats on the river made Clemens dream of becoming a steamboat pilot.

One short year after his father’s death in 1847, Samuel became apprentice to printer Joseph Ament, the publisher of the Missouri Courier. By the age of sixteen he wrote his first published sketches and worked as a printer for the Hannibal Western Union. Two years later he was in New York and Philadelphia working as a printer for the next year. Next he moved to Keokuk, Iowa, where his brother founded the Keokuk Journal.

At age twenty-one he was in New Orleans trying to become a steamboat pilot and did so by age twenty-three. Because of the Civil War Clemens joined a volunteer militia, after-which he became secretary to his brother, the newly appointed secretary of the Nevada Territory.

In 1862 Samuel accepted a job to be a reporter for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. After seventeen months he left the paper and moved to San Francisco where he worked for many local papers for the next four years, during this time Clemens became known as one of the best speakers in the United States. Then in 1866 he headed to New York City where he wrote for the San Francisco Alta California aboard the Quaker City. Before departing he arranged to publish his first book, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, And Other Sketches. Upon returning to New York, Clemens was asked to write a book about his experience aboard the Quaker City, it would become The Innocents Abroad. Shortly after this he met Olivia Langdon who he married in 1870. The couple settled down in Buffalo, New York. Even though Samuel was a very busy man he managed to write Roughing It. In the same year tragedy struck the young couple; first Olivia’s father died, then a close friend, and their first child was born premature and only lived for two years.

Things turned around for the couple when Samuel bought a parcel of land in Nook Farm and visited England for the first time; in 1872 Susy Clemens was born. Upon returning to the states he published The Gilded Age, his first fictional book. Then in 1874 Clara was born and then Jean in 1880.

At this time Samuel began to go back to his youth for the inspirations for his writings. This is the period that produced the most famous of his works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. After a hear and a half abroad he wrote A Tramp Abroad, then The Prince and the Pauper followed by Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court in 1889. While all of this was going on Clemens founded his own publishing company called Charles L Webster and Company; it only lasted for ten years.

During the 1880’s and early 1890’s Clemens invested in several models of an automatic typesetting machine this later caused great financial stress on his family. Regardless of this Samuel still managed to produce numerous novels, one being Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc. Then in 1896 his daughter Susy died, it was a tragic blow to the family.

In 1900 and 1901 Clemens lived in New York City and in Riverdale, New York. Olivia died in Italy in 1904. After her death he lived in New York City, dined at the White House, and received an honorary degree from Oxford University. Clemens had many significant writings during this early part of the twentieth century.

By 1908 Clemens moved into his final home, Stormfield. There he began the Angelfish Club, an informal organization of school-age girls. In December of 1909 Jean died, immediately after that he wrote “The Death of Jean.” This was his last substantial writing he completed. In January of 1910 Samuel went to Bermuda for his health, but on April 21, 1910, at Stormfield, he went into a coma and died at sunset.

At the time of Clemens’ birth Haley’s comet made an appearance in the sky, amazingly the comet came again during April 1910. Mark Twain was correct in saying that he would “go out with the comet.”

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