Life on the Mississippi (Barnes & Noble Digital Library) [NOOK Book]

Overview



This edition includes a modern introduction and a list of suggested further reading.
 Life on the Mississippi was, in some ways, the book Mark Twain always wanted to write.  It was the travel narrative most closely connected with his youth, with his sense of self, with his life. Twain viewed the Mississippi River as a defining feature of his life, his culture, and his country.  It is in this book that we learn how Samuel Clemens took on the pen name Mark ...
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Life on the Mississippi (Barnes & Noble Digital Library)

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Overview



This edition includes a modern introduction and a list of suggested further reading.
 Life on the Mississippi was, in some ways, the book Mark Twain always wanted to write.  It was the travel narrative most closely connected with his youth, with his sense of self, with his life. Twain viewed the Mississippi River as a defining feature of his life, his culture, and his country.  It is in this book that we learn how Samuel Clemens took on the pen name Mark Twain.  This is a work not about the Mississippi, but about life on the Mississippi. It is a text that lays before the reader not only the life of America‚Äôs greatest river, but the life of one of her greatest artists.  Yet, in doing these two things, it does more, for, when all is said and done, Life on the Mississippi lays before the reader the life of the nation itself, a portrait of nineteenth-century American life and culture as only Mark Twain can paint it. 
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781411468641
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Digital Library
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 738,995
  • File size: 926 KB

Meet the Author


Born November 30, 1835, in the frontier town of Florida, Missouri, Samuel L. Clemens adopted the pen name Mark Twain. The name was a term that he often heard during his days as a Mississippi River pilot.  A prolific author, Twain is best known for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

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.

Read More Show Less
    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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 64 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2002

    Mark Twain on every page.

    Mark Twain is my favorite writer and I have read many of his books. So, if you really know what Mark Twain's writing is like, then you will LOVE this book. It's all Mark Twain. Every page--from cover to cover. It's mainly about him growing up as a steamboat pilot--and more. Throughout the book, I felt as if I was just right there with Twain having a conversation with him. Whether he's telling you a hilarious story, a story that fills your eyes with tears, or just his view of the Mississippi river, it's hard to hate this book. It's never boring. It never drifts, it's just fantastic. If you love Mark Twain, you'll love him more, if you hate him, you'll love him after reading this book. Easy 5 stars here.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2002

    This is an outstanding work from Mark Twain! Twain fans should definately read this book!!

    Life on the Mississippi is all about Mark Twain's experience as a steamboat pilot. I learned so much about the Mississippi River, the towns along the river, and about steamboating. It is well told my Twain and the first sentence makes you feel the need to keep reading. Life on the Mississippi is easily one of my favorite books.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    For Twain lovers and history buffs alike...

    I've read almost every Mark Twain novel and this which I read awhile back, is still one of my very faves. There are lots of great little two to three page accounts that across time are universally funny. It is really interesting looking at a snapshot of heartland American steamboat history long forgotten. I find Twain's travel diary type of writing in general to be irresistible and this one even beats "Innocents Abroad" in humor, quirkiness and creative writing ability. This book propelled me on a crusade to read all of Twain's travel diary type stuff and so far, the only other one which matched this one was "Roughing It". In these pages, Twain also manages to paint a wonderfully light, objective picture of various 19th century issues such as slavery and the industrial revolution. It eeks with rainy day interest from the first to the last page.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2012

    Don't buy this edition

    Barnes and Noble should be ashamed that they even offer up this edition. The scanning OCR software did a terrible job of relaying the text. Parts are totally eligible.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2012

    Interestiing!

    I bought this to give to my husband since we are going on a riverboat trip up the Mississippi this spring. Very easy & interesting reading by the great Mark Twain.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2010

    Wow - now I understand why Twain was so popular

    This book is written in an almost chatty style that was surprising at first. The technique sprinkles little anectdotes throughout the text, along with quite a bit of period history. Clemen's interest in technology, and descriptions of changes in his lifetime, is a bonus for people interested in technological history.

    This is the first Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain book I've read since high school, and it shows why he was so popular during his lifetime. It's definitely a shame that most of us are only exposed to a couple of his works. Well worth a read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This book is a literary masterpiece, painted by the author with superb skill, and on the scenic canvass of the awe-inspiring Mississippi River.

    The heyday of the riverboats might have picked up and left, but this detailed book is all you need to revive it. The age-old memoir, Life on the Mississippi, is masterfully authored by Mark Twain, one of America's greatest authors, and is put into a humorous and detailed set up that takes you back to the time of riverboats. The mighty Mississippi is at full flow, and the riverboats are at full steam. It takes place in his childhood, when he decides to leave home and become a cub-pilot (pilot in training) after most of the town's teenager's leave to take jobs on the Mississippi. However, the road to being a cub pilot and then a pilot of a riverboat is no easy feat. Remember, these boats were at least 200ft long and 50ft wide, and able to reach relativity high speeds on the river. The book describes the lengthy and difficult path that takes determination and perseverance to be willing to learn and a tolerance for your piloting teacher, ".he swore till his face was blue." or " 'I never let a cub pilot fail, even if it almost kills him." I think that this great book goes over everything about the Mississippi that you would need to know, and even a little more. The book is peppered with advanced and old-style vocabulary, and is at higher reading level. And the Mississippi has its fair share of missteps and mishaps, so I'd say it's for 9 and up. Read and enjoy!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    Something is seriously wrong with this version!!

    That's what I get for trying to save a buck! This version is screwed up not even in english

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Mark Twain - What can you say?!!

    My husband had read this as an e-book. He enjoyed it so much, we bought it for his Mother, who lives on the Mississippi. It's much more enjoyable than Mark Twain's autobiography, which he also read. Anyone who loves Mark Twain and/or lives on THE river will enjoy this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Great book, missing appendices

    Not too many OCR problems, but NONE of the appendices are included, which is a huge disappointment. Why weren't they scanned along with the rest of the text?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    TOWNSPEOPLE HOMES

    WHERE THE PEACEFUL TOWNSPEOPLE BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES, TALK, CHAT, AND HAVE FUN. UNTIL THEY ARE FORCED TO EVACUATE.

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  • Posted December 28, 2011

    Enjoyable read - worth the time and money!

    How does one find the adjectives to describe a book so full of adjectives? The book not only chronicled life on the river but the authors life as well. Anyone with even a slight knowledge of the goegraphy can melt right into the story and understand what he talks about. I highlighted several passages as I read along.

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  • Posted July 30, 2010

    Best writer we've ever produced.

    There is not one thing about Twain's writing that needs correction. His characters are universal and timeless. His insight into the human condition has never been exceeded. He does not dwell on the morbid, however grim his observations may at times appear. His descriptions of travel in Europe are still amazing today. Innocents Abroad is a wonderful book. About all Twain's writing, I have this to say: Read him and learn how truly great a writer he was.

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  • Posted June 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Gloriously nostalgic.

    Personally, I love anything that has to do with water and boats and such. Reading this wonderfully crafted and humorously witty novel enchanted me with a sense of desire to have lived in those good ol' days in the Mississippi. The characters are believable and charming, and the story is wonderful. Twain's descriptive imagery isn't overwhelming, nor is it undermining; it's perfection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2007

    A Book for People Who Can't Get Too Much Mark Twain

    Much of Mark Twain's LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI was serialized in the ATLANTIC MONTHLY in 1875. The whole was made a book in 1883, when Twain was 48 years old. Its unifying theme is a nostalgic steamboat trip from north to south and back up again on the Mississippi in the early 1870s. *** LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI is clearly, forcefully and amusingly written. It is also very uneven in quality. If one were to read only one book by Mark Twain/Samuel Langhorne Clemens, this would not be it. This book does not make one want to read more Twain. For unifying structure the author uses the framework of a sentimental river journey by steamboat which he made in the 1870s largely to toss off unrelated comments on many subjects, each with its specialized audience.*** No, LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI is for specialists and for readers who simply can't get enough of the great humorist and satirist. Who should read this book? *** First, LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI is for people who can't read too much Mark Twain. It is autobiographical about his time in pre-Civil War training and practice as a steamboat pilot and gives a reminiscence of growing up in Hannibal, Missouri. Second, the book is for specialists in the ancient and modern history of the mighty Mississippi river itself, 2,000 miles from New Orleans to Saint Paul. It also forcefully brings to life the great age of Mississippi river steam-boating which began in 1811. That period grew in importance through the Civil War and then gradually ceded both passengers and freights to the railroads. In any case this was a longer period than the fabled hey-day of cowboys and trail drives from the 1860s into the 1880s. *** Scholars of the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) swarm on two brief passages in Chapters 45 and 46 in LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI in which Mark Twain variously blames the bad architecture of the state capitol at Baton Rouge on Sir Walter and even gives him a major hand in causing the American Civil War. Even second-rate Southern writers are said to be second rate because they are poor imitators of Sir Walter Scott! Basically, Mark Twain sees the world moving away from superstition and revealed religion into a time of reason, equality of man, individualism and self-starting skeptical personal creativity. Napoleon is this world's engine. Cervantes in DON QUIXOTE almost ended the learned world's fascination with chivalry. But then came Sir Walter and turned back the clock with IVANHOE. It is hard to know whether Mark Twain was being serious or funny. *** This is in a few places a five star performance, Twain at his best. But in too many other passages, e.g. in his dry reproduction of statistical charts, it dips to two star quality, not much more exciting than reading a telephone directory. -OOO-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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