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.
"Although my book is intended mainly for the entertainment of boys and girls, I hope it will not be shunned by men and women on that account, for part of my plan has been to try to pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves, and of how they felt and thought and talked, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in."
"The story is a wonderful study of the boy-mind, which inhabits a world quite distinct from that in which he is bodily present with his elders, and in this lies its great charm and its universality, for boy-nature, however human nature varies, is the same everywhere."
From the Publisher
"Tom!"No answer."Tom!"No answer."What's gone with that boy, I wonder? You TOM!"No answer.
In this classic coming-of-age tale, the hero is not the maverick iconoclast that Huck Finn is; his comic battles with prim conformity are essentially harmless. In "Tom Sawyer", Twain effectively and lovingly recreates the pastoral world of his Hannibal, Missouri childhood, including a portrait of his brother Henry (who died young in a shipboard explosion) as Tom's younger brother, Sid.