Mark Twain (1835–1910)

Pen name of Samuel Clemens, American journalist, novelist, and humorist. Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, beside the river that he would later immortalize in the memoir Life on the Mississippi (1883) and in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), one of the greatest American novels. First apprenticed as a printer, he was by turns a riverboat pilot, a Confederate soldier (for two weeks), a gold prospector, and a journalist. His short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” (1867) made him famous; during his lifetime he was enormously popular, lecturing widely to great acclaim and publishing a flood of articles, essays, stories, and novels. Many of his books, including the memoir Roughing It (1872) and the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), are classics. William Faulkner called Twain “the father of American literature.” See also mtwain.com.