Tuesday, November 30, 2010

From Log Cabin to Legend

As The Writer’s Almanac so helpfully reminds us, it was 175 years ago today that Samuel Clemens--later an author, humorist, and social commentator immortalized behind the pseudonym Mark Twain--was born “in a log cabin in Florida, Missouri.”

The Almanac recalls that
He worked as a journalist and then published his first book, a short-story collection called The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (1867). But it was a non-fiction book based on his travels through Europe and the Middle East that first made him famous. That book, The Innocents Abroad, published in 1869, sold 100,000 copies within two years. It remained his best-selling book while he was alive, outselling classics like Tom Sawyer, Pudd’nhead Wilson, and even Huck Finn, a book that [Ernest] Hemingway famously said that all modern American literature comes from. Hemingway stated, “There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”
You can read much more about Twain in The Writer’s Almanac here. When you’re done there, check out a piece I wrote earlier this year about the author’s passing in 1910.

READ MORE:Birthday Bash: Montgomery, Mamet, and Twain,” by Linda L. Richards (January Magazine).

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