Twains First Major Publication English Literature Essay

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In the year 1835 on the 30th of November, one of the greatest and most renowned American authors was born in a small town in Missouri. Samuel L. Clemens grew up in the nearby town of Hannibal, Missouri when his family moves there in 1839. Clemens spent his youth growing up in Hannibal, and the small town would latter serve as the inspiration for his two most famous novels, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Sam's father passed in away in 1847 when Sam is on 12 years of age. This causes a period of financial hardship for the family, prompting young Clemens to abandon his schooling in order to help out the family. Clemens worked several different jobs, finally earning employment as a printing apprentice. Clemens went to work for his elder brother as a typesetter for The Journal. The decline of The Journal causes Clemens to leave Hannibal, and he begins working all over the country as a traveling printer.

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During this time, Clemens became fairly successful at writing comic sketches for various publications across the country. Samuel Clemens's family moves to Iowa, where he once again works as a printer with his brother before deciding to travel to South America. Instead of making his way there, he becomes the apprentice of a steam boat captain on the Mississippi River, and spends the next two years of his life navigating over 1,000 miles of the majestic river, and he then proceeded to earn his riverboat license. Much of his time and experiences during this escapade became the inspiration for 'Tom Sawyer' and 'Huck Finn,' as well as Clemens's "Life on the Mississippi." When riverboat trade is halted due to the beginning of the Civil War, Clemens joins a volunteer militia regiment until it is disbanded two weeks later. At this time Sam heads to Nevada with his elder brother and dabbles in gold mining for a brief stint. Sam Clemens begins to sign his name as 'Mark Twain' on humorous works he does for a local Nevada paper, and the famous pen name is born. Interestingly enough, Mark Twain was a term used by riverboat pilots on the Mississippi he had picked up.

Twain's first major publication as an author comes with the release of his first book - a collection of humorous, fictional short stories titled "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches." The tale of the jumping frog was adapted by Twain from a story he had heard while panning for gold in Nevada, along with several other sketches he had previously published in various newspapers and magazines. Mark Twain begins to travel outside the United States, visiting Europe and the Holy Lands in the Middle East. Twain publishes "The Innocents Abroad" in 1869 about his trip to the Holy Land, and is met with critical acclaim. During his book tour of The Innocents Abroad" he meets Olivia Langdon and they soon become engaged, getting married in 1870 and have a son they name Langdon. Langdon dies at two years of age, and the couple moves to Hartford, Connecticut in late 1871. The Clemens's second child is born in '72, a girl they name Susy. He publishes "Roughing It" the same year, a nonfiction chronicle of his time out West, and is another great success for the writer. Twain's third child and second daughter is born in 1874, and is given the name Clara. In 1876, Twain publishes "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and it is still considered today to be a great achievement in American Literature (along with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), and an outstanding children's novel. His fourth child is born in 1880, named Jean, and it is also the year Twain invested heavily in the Paige Typesetter, which flopped and took his investment with it, leaving him in a significant financial trouble. In preparation for his nonfiction work "Life on the Mississippi, Twain travels from New Orleans to Minnesota as a refresher, and the book is published in 1883, a year later. In 1884, Twain's arguably greatest work is published in Europe, coming to America a year later due to a censorship controversy. The American release stirs up controversy across the nation due to its use of the word 'nigger' and other issues such as Twain's social obvious social commentary about slavery, and some course language and actions by characters.

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Twain receives his Master of Arts degree from the esteemed Yale University in 1888, a year before one of his more dark and more pessimistic novels is released, "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" in 1889. Soon after, the Clemens's financial difficulties catch up with them, causing them to abandon their home of 17 years in Hartford, Connecticut so they move to Germany, specifically Berlin. It is here that he writes and publishes "The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson" right before his already failing publishing company suddenly collapses, driving him to bankruptcy. The book, despite being dark and bleak, is received relatively well, and Twain, in a desperate attempt to earn back some of his previous wealth, goes on a world tour, holding lectures. Tragedy strikes the Clemens family again with the death of his second child, Susy due to Spinal Meningitis in 1896. Five years later he is awarded an honorary Doctorate from Yale University for his prodigious work as a great American writer. In 1902 Twain is awarded his second honorary Doctorate, this time from the University of Missouri - however this honor is overshadowed by the decline in health of his wife Olivia. Moving to Italy in hopes of helping his wife recuperate, she dies in 1904, and Twain is left in heartache and despair. In 1907 Oxford University awards Twain with an honorary Doctorate of Letters. Two years later he attends his daughter Clara's wedding, but Jean, his youngest child, dies the same year. Mark Twain dies in 1910 due to heart trouble brought about by old age. He died in his in Stormfield, Connecticut.

Mark Twain List of Publications

Here is a list of Publications by Mark Twain, in chronological order based on date of publication, and a note on genre of publication.

1867 - The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (fiction), Advice for Little Girls (fiction)

1868 - General Washington's Negro Body-Servant (fiction), My Late Senatorial Secretaryship (fiction)

1869 - The Innocents Abroad (non-fiction travel)

1870-71- Memoranda (monthly column for The Galaxy magazine)

1871- Mark Twain's (Burlesque) Autobiography and First Romance (fiction)

1872 - Roughing It (non-fiction)

1873 - The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (fiction)

1875 - Sketches New and Old (fictional stories)

1876 - Old Times on the Mississippi (non-fiction), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (fiction)

1877 - A True Story and the Recent Carnival of Crime (stories)

1878 - Punch, Brothers, Punch! and other Sketches (fictional stories)

1880 - A Tramp Abroad (non-fiction travel), 1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors (fiction)

1882 - The Prince and the Pauper (fiction)

1883 - Life on the Mississippi (non-fiction)

1884 - Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (fiction)

1889 - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (fiction)

1892 - The American Claimant (fiction)

1892) Merry Tales (fictional stories)

1893) The £1,000,000 Bank Note and Other New Stories (fictional stories)

1894 - Tom Sawyer Abroad (fiction), Pudd'n'head Wilson (fiction)

1896 - Tom Sawyer, Detective (fiction), Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (fiction)

1897 - How to Tell a Story and other Essays (non-fictional essays), Following the Equator (non-fiction travel)

1900 - The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg (fiction)

1901 - Edmund Burke on Croker and Tammany (political satire)

1902 - A Double Barrelled Detective Story (fiction)

1904 - A Dog's Tale (fiction)

1905 - King Leopold's Soliloquy (political satire), The War Prayer (fiction)

1906 - The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories (fiction), What Is Man? (essay)

1907 - Christian Science (non-fiction), A Horse's Tale (fiction), Is Shakespeare Dead? (non-fiction)

1909 - Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven (fiction), Letters from the Earth (fiction, published posthumously)

*Mark Twain had several more publications that were published after his death, including:

1910 - Queen Victoria's Jubilee (non-fiction, published posthumously)

1924 - Mark Twain's Autobiography (non-fiction, published posthumously)

1935 - Mark Twain's Notebook (published posthumously)