One of the most famous authors in the time of Realisms in USA. His name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He was born on November 30, 1835, in Florida. Florida is a town in Missouri. He grew up in Hannibal, because when he was four years old his family moved to Hannibal in Missouri. Hannibal is a small sleepy town on the west bank of the Mississippi. He was enchanted by the romance of river life. In Hannibal he received a public school education. His father worked as a storekeeper. He died when Samuel was eleven years old. After this bad experience he started to learn from two Hannibal’s printers. In 1851 he began with writing to his brother Orion’s Hannibal Journal. Then he was a journeyman printer in Keokuk, New York, Philadelphia, Iowa and other cities. He had a commission to write some comic travel letters for the Keokuk “Daily Post”. This comic letters he signed with the pseudonym “Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass”. He contributed to the Boston humorous paper “The Carpet – Bag.”
He liked the Mississippi River and on the way down the Mississippi toward New Orleans, he met a steamboat pilot named Horace Bixby. He taught him the mysteries of navigating the tortuous channels of the great and treacherous river. He became a steamboat pilot for four years alongside Horace Bixby till American Civil War. After 1859 he was a licensed pilot in his own right. American Civil War brought an end to the travel on the river. Later he remembered these years as the most carefree time of his life. He would never meet a man like Horace Bixby who would know more about the river. Subsequently he spent a few weeks as a Confederate volunteer.
Later that year he accompanied his brother to the newly created Nevada. Here he poorly tried to mine the silver and gold. He became a writer for the Virginia City “Territorial Enterprise”. He signed as “Josh”, but here in Virginia City on February 3, 1863 he started to sign as “Mark Twain”. The pseudonym means two fathoms deep.
In the spring 1864 he left Nevada for California. In San Francisco he met two authors named Bret Harte and Artemus Ward. Artemus Ward is pseudonym of Charles Farrar Browne. Later he became one of the most popular American humorists. Those men encouraged Clemens. Clements reworked a tale he had heard in the California gold fields in November 1865. Within the months Clements and the story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, had become national sensation. This story was published in A New York periodical “The Saturday Press”. It is typical western humor story about the Stranger who cheats a famous frogs’ racer and beats him.
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Mark Twain: Biography
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