1 – Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was born on November 30th 1835. He died on April 21st, 1910.
2 – For a time he worked as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River. He also worked as a newspaper journalist and a miner before he turned to writing fiction.
3 – While he was well paid as a writer, he was plagued with financial problems. One of his biggest problems was bad investments. He lost a lot of money with his investment in Paige Compositor, a mechanical typesetter. Twain eventually declared bankruptcy. However later he paid back all of his creditors.
4 – He married Olivia Landon in 1870. They remained together until her death in 1904. They had four children.
5 – Twain was born shortly after a visit by Halley’s Comet. He told people that he would “go out with it” as well. Here’s a quote from Twain 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’.
Twain predicted correctly. He died the day after the comet’s return.
Novels by Mark Twain
The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Prince and the Pauper
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
The American Claimant
The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson
Tom Sawyer Abroad
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc
Tom Sawyer, Detective
The Mysterious Stranger (published posthumously)
In Mark Twain, Ron Powers consummates years of thought and research with a tour de force on the life of our culture’s founding father, re-creating the 19th century’s vital landscapes and tumultuous events while restoring the human being at their center. He offers Sam Clemens as he lived, breathed, and wrote — drawing heavily on the preserved viewpoints of the people who knew him best (especially the great William Dean Howells, his most admiring friend and literary co-conspirator), and on the annals of the American 19th century that he helped shape. Powers’s prose rivals Mark Twain’s own in its blend of humor, telling detail, and flights of lyricism. With the assistance of the Mark Twain Project at Berkeley, he has been able to draw on thousands of letters and notebook entries, many only recently discovered.
Today is the first day of summer. Enjoy! Here are five literary quotes about summer to help you savor the moment.
And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees–just as things grow in fast movies–I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer. ~ The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. There was a song in every heart; and if the heart was young the music issued at the lips. There was cheer in every face and a spring in every step. ~ The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
A tranquil summer sunset shone upon him as he approached the end of his walk, and passed through the meadows by the river side. He had that sense of peace, and of being lightened of a weight of care, which country quiet awakens in the breasts of dwellers in towns. ~ Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
He has been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers. ~ Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Today I added new quotes to the database. This brings the collection to 2,259, sourced quotes from literature. Will 2013 be the year that the collection grows to 3,000 quotes? Here’s hoping! If you’d like to help make that happen, feel free to contribute a quote. In the meantime, here are my favorite quotes from the new batch.
We all know that Samuel Clemens wrote under the name of Mark Twain and that George Eliot was really Marian Evans. But did you ever wonder about the back-story? In Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms Carmela Ciuraru examines this issue. The book looks at the lives of of authors who used pen names. In addition to Twain and Eliot, there are chapters on the Bronte sisters, Lewis Carroll, O. Henry, George Orwell and others.
Exploring the fascinating stories of more than a dozen authorial impostors across several centuries and cultures, Carmela Ciuraru plumbs the creative process and the darker, often crippling aspects of fame. Part detective story, part exposé, part literary history, Nom de Plume is an absorbing psychological meditation on identity and creativity.
“All I say is, kings is kings, and you got to make allowances. Take them all around, they’re a mighty ornery lot. It’s the way they’re raised.” ~ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
A well proportioned mind is one which shows no particular bias; one of which we may safely say that it will never cause its owner to be confined as a madman, tortured as a heretic, or crucified as a blasphemer. Also, on the other hand, that it will never cause him to be applauded as a prophet, revered as a priest, or exalted as a king. Its usual blessings are happiness and mediocrity. ~ Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
“When I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books; for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved.” ~ The Prince and The Pauper by Mark Twain
Classic literature can be inspirational. It can be poetic. It can be educational. Classic literature can also be really funny! Check out these ten funny quotes from literature:
1 – “How dreadful!” cried Lord Henry. “I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.” ~ The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
2 – “If you could see my legs when I take my boots off, you’d form some idea of what unrequited affection is.” ~ Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
3 – Indeed, he would sometimes remark, when a man fell into his anecdotage, it was a sign for him to retire from the world. ~ Lothair by Benjamin Disraeli
4 – You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind-legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men. ~ Zuleika Dobson by Sir Max Beerbohm
5 – The bishop did not whistle: we believe that they lose the power of doing so on being consecrated. ~ The Warden by Anthony Trollope
6 – A story with a moral appended is like the bill of a mosquito. It bores you, and then injects a stinging drop to irritate your conscience. ~ Strictly Business by O. Henry
7 – From politics, it was an easy step to silence. ~ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
8 – Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example. ~ The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
9 – It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. ~ Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
10 – I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again. ~ This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald