Mark Twain, believed to have been “the father of American literature” and “the greatest humorist of America”, was a man of many talents. Apart from the success he achieved in the literary world, he was also a well-known publisher, entrepreneur and lecturer. His ability to express deep thoughts in the context of interesting adventure novels made him stood out from the writers of the 19th century. Even though Twain died more than a century ago, the ideas and thoughts expressed in his books find their place in the reality of our time. One of the goals he wanted to achieve when writing was to expose the hypocrisy and injustice of the world.
Today, we decided to gather and share with our readers 9 interesting facts about Mark Twain that you may not know about. Let’s see what these facts are…
Mark Twain: 9 interesting facts about the father of American literature
1. Mark Twain criticized his own novels
The book “The Innocents Abroad” was one of Twain’s most successful novels. Believe it or not, but its success was the result of criticism coming from the person who preferred to stay anonymous. Later, Twain said that it was he who anonymously published and criticized the book, an interesting fact about Mark Twain.
2. Mark Twain was the writer’s pen name
The real name of the writer was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Truth be told, Clemens tried several other pen names before he decided to use the pseudonym Mark Twain.
3. Mark Twain’s family didn’t believe that he could achieve any serious success in life
Samuel Clemens was born in November 1835 to Jane and John Clemens. He had as many as six siblings, but only half of them (including Samuel) survived childhood. Since an early age, he had very poor health and suffered from various illnesses.
The success he achieved later in life didn’t come to him within one night. Surprising as it is, but neither of his family thought that he could achieve anything in life. When he was born, he looked so terribly fragile that even his mother could not see any promise in him.
4. Mark Twain left school after the fifth grade
Judge John Clemens died of Pneumonia when Twain was 11 years old. The financial issues that occurred as the consequence of his death forced Mark Twain to leave school and start looking for a job.
Starting his career as a printer’s apprentice, he soon began writing articles and humorous sketches for the Hannibal Journal. At the age of 18, he worked as a printer in several cities including New York and joined the International Typographical Union.
Since he was interested in sailing and studying rivers, Twain decided to join Steamboat pilot Horace Bixby on his journey from New Orleans to St. Louis. While being a member of Bixby’s crew, Twain acquired valuable knowledge on how to navigate currents and read the river as well as its constantly changing channels.
Even though Twain never received any formal education, he regularly visited public libraries, an interesting fact about Mark Twain. He often stated that studying at public libraries allowed him to get better access to information than at any of conventional schools.
5. Mark Twain blamed himself for the death of his younger brother Henry
Twain liked working as a printer, but it wasn’t his dream job. What he really wanted to do was to become a steamboat pilot, the most prestigious and highly paid jobs at those times. After two years of proper training and hard work, he received the pilot’s license and started working on the steamer A. B. Chambers.
He went on to convince his younger brother to start working with him as a mud clerk on a steamboat called Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, his brother died of the wounds he got as a result of the steamboat’s boiler explosion. Twain felt responsible for the death of his brother because he had foreseen his death in a dream that he had one month before the accident. Whether it was a coincidence or a sign sent by the Universe would stay unknown for him. Anyway, what happened sparked an interest of Twain in psychology.
6. Mark Twain was friendly with Nicola Tesla
Twain had many famous friends, but one of the closest friendships he had was with Nicola Tesla. Twain often visited his laboratory and discussed various topics with Tesla while he worked.
7. Mark Twain tried to pursue a career as a silver miner
The beginning of the American Civil War put an end to his career on the sea. Two weeks after the war broke out, Twain went to Nevada where his brother worked as a territorial secretary. An interesting fact about Mark Twain is that he decided to try making a fortune as a silver miner upon arriving to Nevada. Luckily for us and many other fans of Twain all over the world, he failed to do it.
After quitting silver mining, Twain acquired the position of a reporter in a local Nevada newspaper. He moved to San Francisco so that to prevent the drastic consequences of the duel he challenged other newspaper to.
8. Mark Twain liked cats
Twain had as many as 19 cats living in his home. Can you imagine that?
9. Mark Twain wrote the majority of his novels in the house he built for himself and his wife
After marrying Olivia Langdon in 1870, Twain moved his family to Hartford, Connecticut. While the house was being built, the family lived for some time in the house belonging to Olivia’s sister. Due to the fact that Twain smoked a lot and needed a quiet place to work in, Susan had to build an additional wing apart from the main house building.
The majority of the novels (including “Life on Mississippi” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”) that are now considered to be the classics of American literature were written by Twain when he was living in Hartford.
During the last years of his life, Twain suffered from a deep depression that started after the death of his daughter Susan. The death of his youngest daughter Jean and his wife only made the situation worse. In 1906, he established a club for girls whom he decided to take under his protection. The club that had around 12 members was a big source of happiness for him. Twain died of a heart attack in April 1910.
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