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Mark Twain

(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Mark TwainMark Twain (Samuel Langhorn Clemens) was born in 1835 in Florida, Missouri. Twain drew upon youthful experiences along the Mississippi for many of his plots and characters. His formal schooling ended before completion and instead he went into the printing trade. In 1853, after writing for newspapers in Missouri, he traveled on to Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New York. He returned to his roots in 1857 and piloted a Mississippi River steamboat until the Civil War halted river traffic. He arrived as a storyteller and humorist after the publication of the Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. His reputation was also enhanced by lecturing, but it was his novel The Innocents Abroad that cemented his place in the world of literature. Twain was a master of the techniques of exaggeration and irreverence. With an insight into the sound of language, Twain introduced colloquial speech into American literature. He was unrivaled as a creator of personality, notably in the unchaste Huck Finn, and as a keen observer of social interaction.

Frank McCaffrey