Overview

An intimate look at Mark Twain that only he himself could offer

A must-have for all lovers of Mark Twain, this selection of his autobiographical writings opens a rare window onto the writer’s life, particularly his early years. Born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, Samuel Langhorne Clemens first used the pseudonym Mark Twain while a journalist in Nevada in 1863. When his first major book, The Innocents Abroad, appeared six years ...
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Autobiographical Writings

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Overview

An intimate look at Mark Twain that only he himself could offer

A must-have for all lovers of Mark Twain, this selection of his autobiographical writings opens a rare window onto the writer’s life, particularly his early years. Born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, Samuel Langhorne Clemens first used the pseudonym Mark Twain while a journalist in Nevada in 1863. When his first major book, The Innocents Abroad, appeared six years later, he began what would become one of the most celebrated and influential careers in American letters. Autobiographical Writings will help readers know the author intimately and appreciate why, a century after his death, he remains so vital and appealing.


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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Mark Twain's life and times, in his own words, through memoir and essay. Piggybacking the 2010 publication of the first volume of the complete Autobiography of Mark Twain, this Penguin collection--edited by Twain scholar Rasmussen (Bloom's How to Write about Mark Twain, 2007, etc.)--offers an interesting alternate route to the great man's life: the condensed memoirs published in his lifetime, along with numerous personal essays. Together they reveal a raconteur who saw life as an endless comedy and a frequent tragedy. Twain's autobiography, dictated a few years before his death, shows his effortless genius for talk, whether he's recounting a near-fatal dueling episode, how he aided a traveling mesmerist in conning an audience or how even America's Greatest Humorist could bomb before an audience at a literary dinner. Death is also much on his mind. The book is dominated by the memory of his late daughter Susy, who died at 24 from spinal meningitis, and left behind a charming memoir of "Papa," written when she was 14. Susy--"a frank biographer, and an honest one; she uses no sandpaper on me"--becomes the gateway through which Twain recalls the past and the prism through which he views mortality. In other autobiographical pieces, he recalls how he mastered the Mississippi after a slow and humiliating steamboat apprenticeship: "The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book--a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice." He also addresses his disappointed ambitions, the art of turkey hunting, his (largely discredited) doubts on Shakespeare's authorship, how his views on slavery changed and how life is a matter of fortunate circumstance. A compact, generous entry into the comic sensibility of a thoughtful, adventurous life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101589434
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/29/2012
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 873,617
  • File size: 908 KB

Meet the Author

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, in 1835, and died at Redding, Connecticut in 1910. In his person and in his pursuits he was a man of extraordinary contrasts. Although he left school at twelve when his father died, he was eventually awarded honorary degrees from Yale University, the University of Missouri, and Oxford University. His career encompassed such varied occupations as printer, Mississippi riverboat pilot, journalist, travel writer, and publisher. He made fortunes from his writing but toward the end of his life he had to resort to lecture tours to pay his debts. He was hot-tempered, profane, and sentimentaland also pessimistic, cynical, and tortured by self-doubt. His nostalgia helped produce some of his best books. He lives in American letters as a great artist, the writer whom William Dean Howells called “the Lincoln of our literature.”

Biography

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri; his family moved to the port town of Hannibal four years later. His father, an unsuccessful farmer, died when Twain was eleven. Soon afterward the boy began working as an apprentice printer, and by age sixteen he was writing newspaper sketches. He left Hannibal at eighteen to work as an itinerant printer in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. From 1857 to 1861 he worked on Mississippi steamboats, advancing from cub pilot to licensed pilot.

After river shipping was interrupted by the Civil War, Twain headed west with his brother Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the Nevada Territory. Settling in Carson City, he tried his luck at prospecting and wrote humorous pieces for a range of newspapers. Around this time he first began using the pseudonym Mark Twain, derived from a riverboat term. Relocating to San Francisco, he became a regular newspaper correspondent and a contributor to the literary magazine the Golden Era. He made a five-month journey to Hawaii in 1866 and the following year traveled to Europe to report on the first organized tourist cruise. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (1867) consolidated his growing reputation as humorist and lecturer.

After his marriage to Livy Langdon, Twain settled first in Buffalo, New York, and then for two decades in Hartford, Connecticut. His European sketches were expanded into The Innocents Abroad (1869), followed by Roughing It (1872), an account of his Western adventures; both were enormously successful. Twain's literary triumphs were offset by often ill-advised business dealings (he sank thousands of dollars, for instance, in a failed attempt to develop a new kind of typesetting machine, and thousands more into his own ultimately unsuccessful publishing house) and unrestrained spending that left him in frequent financial difficulty, a pattern that was to persist throughout his life.

Following The Gilded Age (1873), written in collaboration with Charles Dudley Warner, Twain began a literary exploration of his childhood memories of the Mississippi, resulting in a trio of masterpieces --The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and finally The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), on which he had been working for nearly a decade. Another vein, of historical romance, found expression in The Prince and the Pauper (1882), the satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), while he continued to draw on his travel experiences in A Tramp Abroad (1880) and Following the Equator (1897). His close associates in these years included William Dean Howells, Bret Harte, and George Washington Cable, as well as the dying Ulysses S. Grant, whom Twain encouraged to complete his memoirs, published by Twain's publishing company in 1885.

For most of the 1890s Twain lived in Europe, as his life took a darker turn with the death of his daughter Susy in 1896 and the worsening illness of his daughter Jean. The tone of Twain's writing also turned progressively more bitter. The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894), a detective story hinging on the consequences of slavery, was followed by powerful anti-imperialist and anticolonial statements such as 'To the Person Sitting in Darkness' (1901), 'The War Prayer' (1905), and 'King Leopold's Soliloquy' (1905), and by the pessimistic sketches collected in the privately published What Is Man? (1906). The unfinished novel The Mysterious Stranger was perhaps the most uncompromisingly dark of all Twain's later works. In his last years, his financial troubles finally resolved, Twain settled near Redding, Connecticut, and died in his mansion, Stormfield, on April 21, 1910.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Samuel Langhorne Clemens (real name); Sieur Louis de Conte
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1835
    2. Place of Birth:
      Florida, Missouri
    1. Date of Death:
      April 21, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Redding, Connecticut

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2013

    Amber

    Here. Ur turn

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2013

    Warriors The Prophecy of Fate- Book 1- Star Glimmer Chapter 2

    Immeadiatly the Clan began to protest. "SHE WILL NEVER REPLACE SQUIRRELFLIGHT! I will not let her!" Lionblaze yowled with fury. "Who will be the new deputy? Certainly not her! What shall you tell the kits? 'Oh, yes, Cinderheart is Lionblaze's mate, but she had kits with his father which is Bramblestar! Tee Hee! Happy happy joy joy!' Yeah, that'll be just peachy!" Lionblaze continued. " Calm yourself, Lionblaze. I will not take your mate. I was going to give the kits up for you and Cinderheart to raise. We shall tell them when they are old enough to understand. Squirrelflight promised she would speak to me tonight. And she will. Has she ever broken a promise to anyone here?" Bramblestar mewed, challengly. "Yes! She said we would be mates and have kits and grow old together, Bramblestar! If you had not interfered into my life, she would still be alive!" Ashfur retorted. "Great StarClan, you really need to shut up, Ashfur! This could have happened even if she was your mate, you little pile of fox dung! If you've got somethin' against her kits, let's discuss it while I rip your fur to shreds!!" Lionblaze yowled in anger. "Hey, come on, furballs, fighting's not the answer. Lets just announce the new deputy and sit vigil for Squirrelflight. If you have one thing in common, it's that you loved her very much, both of you. Just calm down, okay?" Sorreltail meowed, rationally. "Thank you, Sorreltail. The new deputy will be Spiderleg. I admire your bravery, confidence and the ability to be pure even after a battle is won. You a leader of your Clan who must share his first words asvdeputy with his cats." Bramblestar announced. Suddenly, as he was climbing up the High Ledge he collapsed and had a coughing fit until he was completely still. Jayfeather slowly approached Spiderleg's unmoving body and sniffed it. "Bramblestar," Jayfeather whispered, barely audible. "The is greencough in the camp. And your deputy has just joined the high ranks of StarClan."

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