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Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens)
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"Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Missouri in November 1835. His family settled in Hannibal, a small township on the Mississippi. After his father's death in 1847 Clemens left school to become a printer's apprentice, working on the Missouri Courier. From 1853 he travelled widely as a journeyman printer in the East and Middle West, but gave this up in 1857 in favour of becoming a steamboat pilot after a trip down the Mississippi.
"The outbreak of Civil War in 1861 brought an end to all river traffic and Clemens went on to spend time as an army volunteer, a gold prospector in Nevada, a timber prospector and a journalist. He first adopted the pseudonym 'Mark Twain' (a boating term meaning two fathoms) in 1863, as the signature to a humorous travel letter. His first major book, The Innocents Abroad based on his travels in Europe and the Holy Lands appeared in 1869.
"In 1870 he married Olivia Langdon and settled the following year in Connecticut. It was during this time that he wrote many of his best books; Roughing It, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, a superbly evocative memoir, and his masterpiece, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A heavy investment in an unperfected typesetting machine drove him to bankruptcy in 1894. In order to try and restore his finances he set out on a world-wide lecture tour but while abroad his beloved daughter Suzy died. His later writing reflects these disasters with its increasing irony and bitterness.
"Mark Twain died in 1910."
Source: Penguin Web Site (http://www.futurenet.co.uk/Penguin/Authors/614.html) Accessed 10 June 1997.
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The author photograph was taken in London in 1896 or 1897. (Source: Justin Kaplan. Mark Twain and His World. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974. Page 173. PS 1331 K325 1974 ROBA.)
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