Name

Samuel Clemens

Career

Arts/Writing

Occupation 1

novelist

Occupation 2

Mississippi River pilot

Identifier

aka Mark Twain

Region

The World

Era

Age of Steam and Steel (1866-1920)

Born

1835

Died

1910

Source

ANB

Text

Author and lecturer�

Until licensed in April 1859, he apprenticed under several [riverboat] pilots, absorbing the trauma of the lingering death of his younger brother in a steamboat explosion� Contrary to later hearsay, he proved competent as a pilot, regularly getting hired for trips between New Orleans and St. Louis, now the home of his family. Well paid and spending freely, he nevertheless escaped the undertow, the gambling and prostitution, of the steamboat world. He probably would have kept at piloting if the Civil War had not closed down traffic on the Mississippi�

In February 1863 Samuel Clemens started using the pen name Mark Twain, most simply explainable as the leadsman's call for two fathoms, or a depth of twelve feet�.

The next book [Adventures of Huckleberry Finn] should have come easily, all the more because the superb "Old Times" chapters--with the "great Mississippi, the majestic, the magnificent Mississippi, rolling its mile-wide tide along, shining in the sun"--were already done. Twain had long intended to produce the "standard" work about his river. Revisiting it by steamboat helped to sharpen his senses and to net fresh anecdotes, enough to please some readers of Life on the Mississippi (1883)�

Related Image

external image head6_samuel_clemens_1907.jpg
Date: 1907
Image Id: 430

Record ID: 198