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Early American Fiction Collection

EAF Author: Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) (1835-1910)

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Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri. He worked in his teenage years in printing, but eventually decided to become a riverboat captain. Granted his riverboat pilot's license in 1859, Clemens piloted boats until the Civil War broke out in 1861. A brief stint as a volunteer Confederate soldier proved ill-suited to Clemens, and he instead took up a career as a journalist. He signed an early travel letter " Mark Twain," a term borrowed from his riverboat days, and the pseudonym stayed with him for the rest of his life. Mark Twain became well-known for humorous stories, such as The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and his entertaining accounts of his travels through the West, to Hawaii, and throughout the world. Many of these were collected into The Innocents Abroad. In 1870, Clemens married and settled in Hartford, Connecticut, where he continued to write, producing novels including Life on the Mississippi and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He continued to write humorous if occasionally dark pieces until the end of his life in 1910.

Contemporary Biographies

From Oscar Fay Adams, A Dictionary of American Authors (1901)

From Samuel Austin Allibone, A Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1900)