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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also know as Mark Twain, was born in 1835 and died in 1910. He is best known as an American humorist and for his realistic view of America in the nineteenth century through his novels and other stories. He had the whole world captivated through his expert writing and lectures. ?I never let my schooling interfere with my education (home.eathlink.net/?/twain.html),? Mark Twain once said. Mark Twain was a great inspiration to America in the nineteenth century and is still an inspiration to contemporary writers today. Mark Twain was born as Samuel Langhorne Clemens in the small town of Florida, Missouri. He lived in a small, two-bedroom house, and being the fourth of five children, it was obviously very crowded in their house (Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 1). In 1839, at the age of four, he and his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri which is located directly adjacent to the Mississippi River (World Book 530). Here is where Twain grew up as a boy. This was where his inspiration of most his books came from. He witnessed things that would later make him the great author as we know him today. Without this period in his life, a huge chunk of literary history would be missing from America. By living on the banks of the Mississippi River, he experienced many wonderful things like colorful steamboats traveling down the river, some would just pass by, while many would stop and exchange cargo. These steamboats would bring a variety of people including comedians, singers, gamblers, swindlers, slave dealers, and a great assortment of other travelers (World Book 530). Things went along fine in Twain's life until he was twelve. At that age, in 1847, his father died. As expected, he was shocked to lose his father at such a young age and it was then that his formal days of learning were ended. To raise money he began to work as a printer's apprentice. Like most nineteenth century authors, he was prepared for his soon to be career by working with a typesetter and reading a lot in his spare time (www.robinsonresearch.com/?/twain.html). In 1851, he began assisting his older brother, Orion, in the production of a newspaper, the Hannibal Journal. This is where Twain began to seriously write and where he first published his writing. He contributed to the newspaper his poems, reports, skits, and even humorous sketches for several years (World Book 530). This, added to his education from working in print shops, reading miscellaneous books, and working with a typesetter, was priceless for helping Mark Twain become the great American author that he is considered to be today. Throughout his life, Twain had seen the steamboats drive up and down the Mississippi River past his town and this created the desire in him to want to learn how to drive a steamboat and get his pilot's license. In 1853, Twain left his hometown in Hannibal with his desire to learn how to drive a steamboat in mind. While on a trip to New Orleans, he convinced the steamboat pilot to teach him how to drive and by the spring of 1859, Mark Twain was a licensed steamboat pilot (www2.lucidcafe.com/?/twain.html). In 1861, with the outbreak of the Civil War, Twain and his brother, Orion, moved to Carson City, Nevada to get away from the war. He and his brother tried to make it rich by mining for gold and silver. After failing in this endeavor to get rich, he moved to Virginia City, Nevada to join the staff of a newspaper. There, in 1863, Samuel Langhorne Clemens first wrote under his pen name, Mark Twain, which is a call used by Mississippi boatmen meaning ?two fathoms?. In 1865 Mark Twain wrote his first popular story titled ?The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County? (www2.lucidcafe.com/?/twain.html). In 1870, he married his wife, Olivia Langdon. She consulted Twain on his writing and modified his exaggerations in his writings. Sometimes she weakened his stories while, at other times, actually making them even more readable (Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 1). ?Ever since papa and mamma were married, papa has written his books and then taken them to mamma in manuscript and she has expurgated them? (marktwain.miningco.com). After getting married, he began publishing a new book every few years. By the mid-1870's
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