Mark Twain Case Essay

Mark Twain was an extremely productive author in his lifetime. He wrote many famous books, articles and stories. He was also a world traveler. He visited five continents and crossed the Atlantic Ocean 29 times. In general, he is notarized for his fiction works. However, he also composed many successful non-fiction manuscripts as well.

Many of Twain’s non-fiction works were written on his travels. In his travels to the Old City, Twain took photographs to correspond with his written work. He described the Old City, highlighting the methods and manners in which the Jewish people of the city worshipped and interacted with one another. While doing this, he provided names to many of the places that he visited. Many of these names have stuck, and have become the common names of landmarks (Journey to the Holy City, 2).

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Most readers are already familiar with the broad brushstrokes of Mark Twain’s life. Many interviews, however, were conducted in order to present a totally new facet of the Twain story, unfictionalized and in fascinating detail. These interviews appeared in a great diversity of American and international newspapers during the long course of his creative adult life (Nash). The interviews provide information to the volumes and volumes of Twain’s imaginative and satirical capabilities. Most famous of the non-fiction works written by Twain is his adult biography. The biography tells the compelling story, from his own perspective, of life and the inspirations behind his works.

Countless books have been written about Twain’s life. One book, written by Ron Powers, has been hailed by critics as serving as a “biography but much more…Powers uses Twain’s life to tell us what America was like then and, tangentially, why we’re what we are today” (Spiegel, 2).

Twain’s world travels began in 1867, when a California newspaper sent him on a five-month trip to Europe and the Middle East. There, he wrote many letters that were later put together to form the book The Innocents Abroad (Twain’s Travels, 1).

Mark Twain is considered to be one of the world’s greatest humorists. His witty phrases and observations filled the pages of his non fiction works (WordPlay, 1). Twain was also one of the first persons in his town in Hartford, Connecticut to have a telephone. An example of his humorous use of satire to describe a situation occurred in 1880. Twain was amused by his new device, as it enabled persons who enjoyed eavesdropping to hear only one side of a conversation. As a result, he wrote an amusing description of listening to his wife talk on the telephone (Twain, 1).

Twain composed many of his non-fiction works under his pen name. His legal name was Samuel Clemens. While often engaged in travel, Twain spent over 17 years at his beloved Hartford home. While living there, he published six books. These include: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Tramp Abroad, The Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Allen).

Literature critics have paid significant attention to Twain’s twang in his nonfiction writings, stating that “he pours forth a flood of most graphic word painting. He talks slowly and extracts each of his vowels with a corkscrew twist that would make even the announcement of a funeral sound like a joke” (Mark’s Twang, 1).

Critics have also spent significant amounts of time dissecting Twain’s life as well as books written about his life. In an article by Middlekauff, the author describes Twain as an inspiration to biographers, historians and literary critics alike. Middlekauff elaborates on this by concluding, “Mark Twain, in all of his fascination, will never exhaust the interest of his readers” (1). It seems as though Middlekauff hit it right on.

In the past decade, in particular, Twain’s name has been used publicly to highlight achievement. Schools have been named after him. Additionally, many literary awards have been named after the famous author. For example, in 2006, playwright Neil Simon was presented with the Ninth Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (Awards and Prizes, 1).

Works Cited

Allen, Daniel. Mark Twain. Yankee. November 2006. Vol 70(9). 1 pg.

Awards and Prizes. American Theatre. September 2006. Vol 23(7). 1 pg.

Journey to the Holy City in the Footsteps of Mark Twain. PSA Journal. October 2006.

Volume 72(10). 2 pg.

Mark’s Twang. Harper’s Magazine. September 2006. Vol 313(1876). 1 pg.

Middlekauff, Robert. Mark Twain: A Life. Journal of American History. September

Vol 93(2). 1 pg.

Nash, Charles. Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews. Library Journal. October 1,

Vol. 131(16). 2 pg.

Spiegel, Pamela. Leaders as Readers. American Libraries. May 2006. Vol 37(5), 4 pg.

Twain, Mark. A Telephonic Conversation. Atlantic. September 2006. Vol 298(2). 1


Twain’s Travels: Letters from home; from France, Morocco, Egypt and Russia. Read.

November 3, 2006. Vol 56(6). 2 pg.

Wordplay. Read. November 3, 2006. Vol 56(6). 1 pg.


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