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Mark Twain


Date Born: 11/30/1835
Place of Birth: Florida, MO United States

Date Died: 4/21/0
Place of Death: Redding, CT United States

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was a famous and popular American humorist, novelist, writer and lecturer. At his peak, he was probably the most popular American celebrity of his time. William Faulkner wrote he was "the first truly American writer, and all of us since are his heirs."

Clemens maintained that the name "Mark Twain" came from his years on the riverboat, where two fathoms (12 ft, approximately 3.7 m) or "safe water" was measured on the sounding line, was marked by calling "mark twain". But it is often thought that the name actually came from his wilder days in the West, where he would buy two drinks and tell the bartender to "mark twain" on his tab. The true origin is unknown. In addition to Mark Twain, Clemens used the pseudonym "Sieur Louis de Conte".

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is commonly accounted as one of the first Great American Novels. It was also one of the first novels ever written in the vernacular, or common speech, being told in the first person by the eponymous Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, best friend of Tom Sawyer (hero of three other Mark Twain books). The book was published for the first time on February 18, 1885. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is also a great example of a bildungsroman. In The Green Hills of Africa, Ernest Hemingway placed the novel in historical context : "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. ... all American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since." The book is noted for its innocent young protagonist, its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River, and its sober and often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism, of the time. The drifting journey of Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi River on their raft may be one of the most enduring images of escape and freedom in all of American literature. Although the book has been popular with young readers since its publication, and taken as a sequel to the comparatively innocuous The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (which had no particular social message), it has also been the continued object of study by serious literary critics. Although the Southern society it satirized was already 40 years in the past by the time of the book's publication, it immediately became controversial, and has remained so until the present.

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Books by Mark Twain on Riapress.com

The Innocents Abroad

By: Mark Twain

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

By: Mark Twain

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

By: Mark Twain

The great American "road trip" story started with this river story, by America's first celebrity author.

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Related Books on Riapress.com

Four Months in a Sneak Box (Illustrated)

By: Nathaniel H. Bishop

The author navigates and narrates through America's inland waterways during an 1874 voyage in 12 foot boat.

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Author Bibliography

Mark Twain reading list:
Ade, George. One afternoon with Mark Twain. Mark Twain Society of Chicago, 1939.
Allen, Jerry. The adventures of Mark Twain. Boston: Little, Brown, 1954.
Anderson, Frederick, ed. Mark Twain: the critical heritage. London: Routledge and K. Paul, 1971.
Asselineau, Roger. The literary reputation of Mark Twain from 1910 to 1950; a critical essay and a bibliography. Paris: Didier, 1954.
Baldanza, Frank. Mark Twain, an introduction and interpretation.. New York, Barnes & Noble, 1961.
Bellamy, Gladys Carmen. Mark Twain as a literary artist. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1950.
Benson, Ivan, B. Mark Twain's western years, together with hitherto unreprinted Clemens western items. New York, Russell & Russell, 1966.
Bliss, Walter and Edwards, Frances, ed.  Twainiana notes from the annotations of Walter Bliss. Hartford, CT: Hobby Shop, 1930.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Mark Twain. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.
Branch, Edgar Marquess. The literary apprenticeship of Mark Twain: with selections from his apprentice writing. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1950.
Brooks, Van Wyck. The ordeal of Mark Twain. New York: E.P. Dutton & company, 1920.
Budd, Louis J. and Cady, Edwin Harrison, eds. On Mark Twain. Durham: Duke University Press, 1987.
Budd, Louis J. ed. Critical essays on Mark Twain, 1867-1910. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1982.
Budd, Louis J. Interviews with Samuel L. Clemens, 1874-1910: a listing of and selection from newspaper and magazine. Arlington: University of Texas at Arlington, 1977.
Budd, Louis J. Mark Twain: the contemporary reviews. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Budd, Louis J. Our Mark Twain: the making of his public personality. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.
Canby, Henry Seidel. Turn west, tune east: Mark Twain and Henry James. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1951.
Cardwell, Guy, ed. Discussions of Mark Twain. Boston: Heath, 1963.
Cardwell, Guy. Twins of genius. Michigan: Michigan State College Press, 1953.
Clemens, Cyril. Mark Twain, by Cyril Clemens (his cousin). With an introduction by Booth Tarkington. London: T. W. Laurie, 1939.
Clemens, William Montgomery. Mark Twain, his life and work; a biographical sketch.. San Francisco: Clemens Pub. Co., 1892.
Cox, James M. Mark Twain: the fate of humor. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1966.
De Koster, Katie. Readings on Mark Twain. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996.
Deane, Anthony C. Mark Twain. London..
Emerson, Everett H. Mark Twain: a literary life. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.
Emerson, Everett H. The authentic Mark Twain: a literary biography of Samuel L. Clemens. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984.
Fatout, Paul. Mark Twain on the lecture circuit. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1960.
Ferguson, J. De Lancey. Mark Twain: man and legend. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1943.
Florence, Don. Persona and humor in Mark Twain's early writings. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1995.
Fulton, Joe B. The Reverend Mark Twain: theological burlesque, form, and content. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2006.
Geismar, Maxwell David. Mark Twain: an American prophet. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970.
Gerber, John C. Mark Twain. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988.
Gibson, William Merriam. The art of Mark Twain. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.
Gillis, William Robert. Memories of Mark Twain and Steve Gillis. Sonora, Calif: The Banner, 1924.
Gillman, Susan Kay. Dark twins: imposture and identity in Mark Twain's America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.
Grant, Douglas. Mark Twain. New York: Grove Press, 1962.
Griffith, Clark. Achilles and the tortoise: Mark Twain's fictions. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1998.
Haviland, Virginia, , ed. Samuel Langhorne Clemens: a centennial for Tom Sawyer: an annotated, selected bibliography. Washington: Library of Congress, 1976.
Haweis, H. R. Mark Twain and Bret Harte. New York: John B. Alden, 1900.
Heller, Otto. The seriousness of Mark Twain: address at the annual dinner of the State Historical Society at Hannibal, Missouri, Thursday, May 9, 1935. Hannibal, MO: Hannibal Chamber of Commerce, 1935.
Henderson, Archibald. Mark Twain; with photographs by Alvin Langdon Coburn. London: Duckworth, 1911.
Hill, Hamlin Lewis. Mark Twain. God's fool. New York, Harper & Row, 1973.
Hoffman, Andrew Jay. Inventing Mark Twain: the lives of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. New York: W. Morrow, 1997.
Horn, Jason Gary. Mark Twain: a descriptive guide to biographical sources. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1999.
Howard, Oliver. The Mark Twain book. New London, MO: O. and G. Howard, 1985.
Howe, Lawrence. Mark Twain and the novel: the double-cross of authority. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Howells, William Dean. My Mark Twain: reminiscences and criticisms. New York: Harper & Bros., 1910.
International Mark Twain society.  Tributes to Mark Twain. Paris: Printed for the Mark Twain society, by H. Clarke, 1930.
Johnson, Merle De Vore. A bibliography of the work of Mark Twain, Samuel Langhorne Clemens: a list of first editions in book form and of first printings in periodicals and occasional publications of his varied literary activities. New York: Harper & Bros., 1910.
Justus, James H. Fetching the Old Southwest: humorous writing from Longstreet to Twain. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2004.
Kaplan, Fred. The singular Mark Twain: a biography. New York: Doubleday, 2003.
Kaplan, Justin, ed. Mark Twain, a profile. New York: Hill and Wang, 1967.
Kaplan, Justin. Mark Twain and his world. London: Joseph, 1974.
Kaplan, Justin. Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: a biography. London, Cape, 1967.
Kesterson, David B. Critics on Mark Twain. Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami Press, 1973.
Kinch, J. C. B. Mark Twain's German critical reception, 1875-1986: an annotated bibliography. New York: Greenwood Press, 1989.
Kirk, Connie Ann. Mark Twain: a biography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004.
Krause, Sydney J. Mark Twain as critic. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, 1967.
Kravitz, Bennett. Dreaming Mark Twain. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1996.
Ladd, Barbara. Nationalism and the color line in George W. Cable, Mark Twain, and William Faulkner. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996.
Lauber, John. The inventions of Mark Twain. New York: Hill and Wang, 1990.
Lauber, John.The making of Mark Twain: a biography. New York: American Heritage Press, 1985.
Leacock, Stephen. Mark Twain. London: Peter Davies, 1932.
Leary, Lewis Gaston, ed. A casebook on Mark Twain's wound. New York, Crowell, 1962.
Leary, Lewis Gaston. Mark Twain. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1960.
Leary, Lewis Gaston. Southern excursions; essays on Mark Twain and others. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1971.
Liljegren, Sten Bodvar. The revolt against romanticism in American literature as evidenced in the works of S.L. Clemens. New York, Haskell House, 1964.
Long, E. Hudson. The new Mark Twain handbook. New York: Garland Pub., 1985.
Lynn, Kenneth Schuyler. Mark Twain and Southwestern humor. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1972.
Marotti, Maria Ornella. The duplicating imagination: Twain and the Twain papers. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press,  1990.
Masters, Edgar Lee. Mark Twain; a portrait. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1938.
McMahan, Elizabeth. Critical approaches to Mark Twain's short stories. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1981.
Messent, Peter B. Mark Twain. New York,: St. Martin's Press, 1997.
Messent, Peter B. The short works of Mark Twain: a critical study. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001.
Miller, Robert Keith. Mark Twain. New York: F. Ungar, 1983.
Neider, Charles. Mark Twain. New York, Horizon Press, 1967.
Quirk, Tom. Mark Twain: a study of the short fiction. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1997.
Railton, Stephen. Mark Twain: a short introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.
Robinson, Forrest G. The Cambridge companion to Mark Twain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Rodney, Robert M. Mark Twain international: a bibliography and interpretation of his worldwide popularity. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982.
Rubin, Louis Decimus. The writer in the South; studies in literary community. Athens, University of Georgia Press, 1972.
Schmitter, Dean Morgan. Mark Twain: a collection of criticism. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1974.
Scott, Arthur L. On the poetry of Mark Twain: with selections from his verse. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1966.
Scott, Arthur Lincoln, ed. Mark Twain: selected criticism. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1955.
Sloane, David E. E. Student companion to Mark Twain. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001.
Smith, Henry Nash, ed. Mark Twain; a collection of critical essays. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963.
Smith, U. S. Up a tree with Mark Twain: an oracular opus exposing a literary hoax so horrendous may God have mercy on the 1st amendment. Quincy, IL: Shondo-Shando Press, 1978.
Spengemann, William C. Mark Twain and the backwoods angel; the matter of innocence in the works of Samuel L. Clemens. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1966.
Stone, Albert E. The innocent eye; childhood in Mark Twain's imagination. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1970.
Sundquist, Eric J. Mark Twain: a collection of critical essays. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1994.
Tenney, Thomas Asa. Mark Twain: a reference guide. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1977.
Vallin, Marlene Boyd. Mark Twain: protagonist for the popular culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992.
Walker, I. M.  Mark Twain. New York: Humanities Press, 1970.

Wilson, James D. A reader's guide to the short stories of Mark Twain. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1987