Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens, was a powerful observer of human nature. Born November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri, Twain penned several novels including two major classics of American literature, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He was also a riverboat pilot, humorist, lecturer, journalist, publisher and inventor. His mother, Jane Lampton, was born in Adair County, Kentucky, where she met Clemens' father, who was clerking at a law office in Columbia, Kentucky. They married and lived two years in Columbia before moving to Tennessee and then on to Missouri.
Through his characters and stories, Twain single-handedly put American literature on the map. Ernest Hemingway was quoted as saying, "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since." Mark Twain lived many lifetimes in one, traveled much and entertained multitudes with his particular sense of humor. But that humor was borne on the back of great sorrow and many personal tragedies. He was irreverent, irascible, and had a razor-sharp wit. He is an American icon.
Kentucky Chautauqua Actor: Robert Brock
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