Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi Life on the Mississippi (Paperback)
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Mark Twain, the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, a port on the Mississippi River. As a teenager, he began writing short sketches for his brother's newspaper. When he was older, Clemens became a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River, a job that ended with the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861. He continued to work as a newspaper reporter, and in 1863 began signing his articles with the name Mark Twain, a Mississippi River phrase meaning "two fathoms deep." In 1865, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" was published, and became a sensation nationwide. THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER was published in 1876, but it was its sequel, HUCKLEBERRY FINN (1884), that is acknowledged as Twain's greatest work. A masterpiece of American literature, the novel is notable among other things for its uniquely American subject and its brilliant use of dialect. Twain's works in general are full of the author's satiric humor, his disdain for pretension and hypocrisy, and his brilliant characterizations.