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Famous Friendships of Legendary Author Mark Twain

By Stephen Pappas. Nov 30, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Mark Twain

Mark Twain, the father of American Literature, captured the limelight of his age in a way that no writer has since. The stories that surround him are the stuff of myths and legends. His influence as America’s greatest “funnyman” has lasted for over a century. Twain’s relationships are just as interesting as Twain himself. From presidents to inventors, Twain brushed shoulders with many of history’s giants. Today, we explore some of Twain's many famous friendships.


Thomas Bailey Aldrich: Father of "Bad Boy" Literature

By Brian Hoey. Nov 11, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, Mark Twain

"Lord, I loathe that woman so! She is an idiot—an absolute idiot—and does not know it ... and her husband, the sincerest man that walks...tied for life to this vacant hellion, this clothes-rack, this twaddling, blethering, driveling blatherskite!"
-Mark Twain, referring to Thomas Bailey Aldrich’s wife, Lillian

To be called "the sincerest man that walks" by Mark Twain, one of the fathers of American fiction and whose contributions still loom after more than a century and a half, is certainly a rare honor. You have to imagine, however, that New England-born poet, novelist, travel writer, and editor Thomas Bailey Aldrich would have preferred the compliment couched in slightly less venomous language. Indeed, given only that quotation, you would have gleaned very little about a writer whose influence has outlived his name recognition.


Bret Harte, Mark Twain, Pioneer Fiction, and a Play Gone Wrong

By Nick Ostdick. Aug 25, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Mark Twain

It’s 1876 and two of America’s most revered writers have decided to collaborate on what turned out to be one of the most disastrous plays in American dramatic work – and one that would severely damage a budding literary friendship.


The Birth of "Mark Twain": His First National Article

By Brian Hoey. Dec 21, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature, Mark Twain

In retrospect, 1866 was a watershed year for Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He gained a cult following for his Hawaii travelogue (then referred to as the "Sandwich Islands"), published his first piece in a national magazine, and--finding "Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass" to be an unsuitable moniker--chose a new pen name: Mark Twain. "Forty-three Days in An Open Boat," published in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in December of 1866, was the first of his works published on a national scale.


Ten Things You Might Not Know About Mark Twain

By Leah Dobrinska. Nov 28, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature, Mark Twain

Beloved for his humor and storytelling prowess, Mark Twain is one of America’s most famous literary figures. Ernest Hemingway summed it up best when he declared, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called ‘Huckleberry Finn.’ All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since." 

Listed below are ten facts about Mark Twain, including some of the lesser known facets of his fascinating life and legacy.


Mark Twain, Prankster Journalist

By Kristin Masters. Nov 21, 2014. 9:56 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature, Mark Twain


"Get the facts first. Then you can distort them as much as you like." 
-Dan DeQuille, reporter,  Territorial Enterprise, ca 1862


Before he would pen Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer or even adopt the pseudonym "Mark Twain," Samuel Clemens tried his hand at mining. He had little luck, however, and soon turned to journalism to make a living. Clemens got hired as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise, the largest newspaper in Virginia City, Nevada. Though Clemens did some honest reporting, he also earned a reputation for publishing pranks and hoaxes--often under his new pen name. 


Case Studies in Collecting: Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

By Kristin Masters. Oct 22, 2014. 9:26 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, American Literature, Mark Twain

"I'd rather travel with that old portly, hearty, silly, boisterous, good-natured sailor...than with any other man I've ever come across." 
- Mark Twain, of Captain Edgar "Ned" Wakeman


Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, met Captain Edgar "Ned" Wakeman in 1866 aboard the Americas, after already having heard much about him. Twain found Wakeman a most amicable traveling companion, and the celebrated sea captain would live on in a number of Twain's books, most notably Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven


Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the Byron Scandal

On August 24, 1869, an unsigned editorial appeared in the Buffalo Express. Written by none other than Mark Twain, the short piece defended Harriet Beecher Stowe, who had recently published a scandalous exposé on George Gordon, Lord Byron. Twain defended Stowe not once, but seven times, illustrating his intense interest in Stowe's literary career. 


Mark Twain and the Most Famous Children's Book in Europe

Randolph Caldecott and John Newbery both made significant contributions to children's literature, but another figure gave us the volume that is arguably the best known children's book of the nineteenth century. Dr. Heinrich Hoffman wrote Der Struwwelpeter in 1841, and the book rapidly became a hit. Fifty years later, it would draw the attention of Mark Twain, whose own translation of the book would not be published until 35 years after Twain's death.


Why All the Controversy, Huckleberry Finn?

By Andrea Koczela. Feb 25, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature, Mark Twain

It is a curious incongruity that Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn  - widely considered one of the great American novels -  was first published in Great Britain. Released stateside in February 1885, the book has remained in constant state of controversy ever since. The subject of that controversy, however, has vacillated considerably according to the mores of the time.

Twain initially intended the book as a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Its first working title was Huckleberry Finn’s Autobiography;


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