Mark Twain (1835-1919)
Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (better the pen name!), an American author, humorist and speaker, who grew up in Hannibal (Missouri), which would later provide the setting for “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn”, his two most famous novels.
Rebel young, he had very many jobs (printer, typesetter, miner…) but it was his experience as a pilot in one of the boats which crossed the Mississippi river which marked him forever. Thanks to it, he wrote a humorous story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, which made him famous throughout the country. In spite of it and all of the money he earned, he squandered his fortune and he had serious economical problems (a true writer!).
Modern man, Mark Twain was very interested in science and technique. He patented and adhesive photo album and other two silly invents. But this interest served to draw the plot of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” (a time traveler from contemporary America to Arthurian England, who revolutionized this last one with his technical knowledge) and, also, to be visited and filmed by Edison, Part of the footage was used in “The Prince and the Pauper”, a short film based on one of his works.
His last years were sad due to successive deaths of friends and family (wife, daughters…). He received honors (Oxford University rewarded him with a D.Litt.) and died in 1919 as he had lived (as a true writer), because he had written ten years before:
“I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.”
The fate can never contradict a true writer.
Written by Michael J. Metcalf