Mark Twain's real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens and Mark Twain was one of his pen names. Other pseudonyms were Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, W. Epaminondas Adrastus Blab, Sergeant Fathom, and Rambler.
Interesting Facts About Mark Twain
Mark Twain had an interesting life:
- He was born on November 30, 1835 in the town of Florida, Missouri. That was two weeks after Halley's Comet appeared.
- When he was 13 his father died of pneumonia so he quit school and became a printer’s apprentice.
- He moved to St. Louis when he was 17 to take a job as a printer.
- He also became a licensed river pilot and from that experience, he chose the pen name that we know him by.
- The term “mark twain” means it is safe to sail because the water’s depth is two fathoms, or 12 feet. “Mark one” is six feet, “mark ta-ree” is 18 feet, and “mark four” is 24 feet.
Mark Twain's Career
There are also some interesting facts about Mark Twain's career that you might like to know:
- The river trade was affected by the Civil War, so he became a reporter.
- His first claim to fame was an article “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County" that he wrote in 1865 for the New York Saturday Press.
- After that, Mark Twain had an interesting and diverse literary career.
- He wrote a total of 28 books along with essays, articles, and short stories.
- His first book, The Innocents Abroad, was published in 1869. That was followed by The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, published in 1876, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, published in 1885, which has been called the "Great American Novel."
Mark Twain's Death
There are also plenty of interesting facts about Mark Twain's death:
- He was born right after Halley’s Comet appeared and the comet was scheduled to return in 1910. He told people in 1909, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet."
- The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'”
- As predicted, he died on April 21, 1910, of a heart attack, the day after Halley’s Comet made its closest pass.
Tributes to Mark Twain
Since Mark Twain was known as a humorist, satirist, and social commentator, the Kennedy Center established an award in 1998 for comedy called The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The award is given to people who have had an impact on American society like Mark Twain did.
The other recipients in receiving order since 1998 are:
- Richard Pryor
- Jonathan Winters
- Carl Reiner
- Whoopi Goldberg
- Bob Newhart
- Lily Tomlin
- Lorne Michaels
- Steve Martin
- Neil Simon (2006)
- Billy Crystal
- George Carlin
- Bill Cosby
- Tina Fey
Ernest Hemingway always gave Mark Twain a great tribute when he said “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.
Other Facts About Samuel Clemens
- He loved cats and wanted them around him all the time.
- He was married to Olivia Langdon for 34 years and they had three children: Clara, Jean, and Susy.
- During the last years of his life, he was the vice-president of the American Anti-Imperialist League.
- Samuel began using the pen name “Mark Twain” while he was living in Nevada in 1863.
Mark Twain was very wise and here is a quote that is an example of that wisdom: "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."