Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) (1835-1910)
Born in Florida, Missouri, Samuel Langhorne Clemens became a printer and then pilot of a Mississippi riverboat. He adopted his pen name from a well-known call of the man sounding the river depth in shallow places ("mark twain" meaning "by the mark two fathoms").
In 1867, he published a book of short stories entitled The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches and visited France, Italy, and Palestine, gathering material for his Innocents Abroad (1869), which established his reputation as a humorist. His two masterpieces, Tom Sawyer (1876) and Huckleberry Finn (1884), drawn from his own boyhood experiences, are firmly established among the world's classics. Other favorites are: A Tramp Abroad (1880), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889). Widely know as a lecturer, he developed a great popular following. In his later years, financial speculations led him into bankruptcy. He died in Redding, Connecticut.
The Classical Library,
© 1999, 2000.