Mark Twain is an American writer. Born November 30, 1835 in the village of Florida (pc. Missouri). He spent his childhood in the town of Hannibal on the Mississippi. He was a student of a typesetter, later, together with his brother, he published a newspaper in Hannibal, then in Meskatin and Keokuk (pc. Iowa). In 1857 he became a pupil of the pilot, fulfilling his childhood dream of “know the river”, in April 1859 he received the rights of the pilot. In 1861 he moved to his brother in Nevada, for almost a year he was a prospector in silver mines. After writing several humor notes for the newspaper “Territorial Enterprise” in Virginia City, in August 1862 he received an invitation to become its employee. For the pseudonym, he took the expression of lots on the Mississippi, shouting “Merka 2”, which meant sufficient depth for safe navigation.
In May 1864, Twain left for San Francisco, worked for two years in California newspapers, including correspondent of the California “Union” in the Hawaiian Islands. On the crest of the success of his essays, he delivered humorous lectures about Hawaii during a three-month tour of American cities. From the newspaper Alta California, he participated in a Mediterranean cruise on the Quaker City steamboat, collected material for The Innocents Abroad, 1869, made friends with C. Langdon from Elmira (New York) and February 2, 1870 married his sister Olivia. In 1871, Twain moved to Hartford (Connecticut), where he lived for 20 years, his happiest years. In 1884 he founded a publishing company, nominally headed by C. L. Webster, the husband of his niece. Among the first publications of the company – “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (Huckleberry Finn, 1884) Twain and became the best-seller “Memoirs” (Memoirs, 1885) of the eighteenth President of the United States W. Grant. During the economic crisis of 1893–1894, the publishing house went bankrupt.
In order to save money and earn money in 1891, Twain and his family moved to Europe. For four years, the debts were paid, the financial situation of the family was leveled, in 1900 they returned to their homeland. Here, his wife died in 1904, and on the eve of Christmas 1909 in Redding, Connecticut, daughter Jean died of an attack of epilepsy (her beloved daughter, Susie, died of meningitis in 1896). Mark Twain died in Redding on April 21, 1910.
Twain was proud of his public recognition, especially appreciated the award of a doctorate in literature to him from Oxford University (1907), but he also recognized the bitterness of life. His last, most caustic denunciation of the “damned human race” is Letters from the Earth, which were not published by daughter Clara until 1962.
Twain came to literature late. At 27, he became a professional journalist; at 34, he published his first book. Early publications (he began to print at age 17) are interesting mainly as evidence of a good knowledge of the rude humor of the American hinterland. From the very beginning, his newspaper publications carried the features of an artistic sketch. He quickly got tired of reporting if the material did not have humor. The transformation from a gifted amateur into a true professional occurred after a trip to Hawaii in 1866. Lecture play played an important role. He experimented, searched for new, more diverse forms of expression, calculated pauses, achieving exact correspondence of design and result. Careful polishing of the spoken word remained in his work. The trip to Quaker City continued the Hawaiian school. In “Simpletons Abroad,” the book that made him famous in America, an extremely simple leitmotif of Twain’s work was defined – travel in space. Grounded in the Simpletons by the route of the trip itself, it will also be preserved in the books Tempered (Roughing It, 1872, in Russian translation – “Easy”, 1959), “On foot across Europe” (A Tramp Abroad, 1880) and “By to the equator ”(Following the Equator, 1897). The most impressive way it is used in Huckleberry Finn.
The approach to fiction was gradual, cautious. The first novel, The Gilded Age, 1873, was co-written with C. D. Warner. The action of the novel, conceived as a modern social satire, stumbles on poorly fitting pieces of standard Victorian stories. Despite the artistic imperfection, the novel gave its name to the period of Grant’s presidency. Then a meeting with a childhood friend reminded Twain of their childhood adventures in Hannibal. After two or three unsuccessful attempts, including a diary-style narrative, he found the right approach and, from 1874 to 1875, with breaks, wrote the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876, which created him a reputation as a master of characters and intrigue and a wonderful comedian. Tom, according to Twain, is “the embodiment of boyhood.” The story’s background is autobiographical, St. Petersburg is Hannibal. However, the characters are by no means flat copies, but full-blooded characters born of the imagination of a master recalling his youth.
From January to July 1875, The Atlantic Monthly published Old Times on the Mississipi, and in 1883 they entered the book Life on the Mississipi (chapters IV – XVII).