Samuel Clemens Works “Heaven and Hell and sunset and rainbows and the aurora all fused into on divine harmony . . . ” It is by the goodness of God that in out country we have those three unspeakable precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them. Samuel Clemens’ profound response to beauty was immediately and untrammeled-the beauty of nature, for which no special training is necessary for appreciation. The quote above supports the idea that Samuel Clemens was a literary artist, possibly America’s greatest.
Yet, he was definitely not just a writer. He wrote many novels that became American classics. Many of Clemens’ greatest works were based on his own personal experiences as a young man on the Mississippi River, and through theses writing he established a place for himself in the classics of American literature. To this day, Samuel Langhorne Clemens is, without a doubt, America’s most picturesque literary figure. Perhaps a part of his appeal to the mass imagination lies in the fact that he himself became the embodiment of literature throughout his and the rest of time. The mastery of his literary oeuvres has surpassed the conventional cascade of literature since the 1800’s.
Samuel Clemens will be, forevermore, the epitome of the literary world. Throughout his life, Samuel Clemens maintained an engaging and infectiously boyish enthusiasm that led his wife to nickname him “Youth.” Unlike most men, Samuel Clemens never did renounce his boyhood; he carried with him into maturity miraculously preserved and vibrant memories of his early and middle adolescence, and it was through these memories that he filtered his adult experience. At the age of fifty-five, he wrote to an unknown correspondent: “And yet I can’t go away from the boyhood period and write novels because capital is not sufficient by itself and I lack the other essential: interest in handling the men and experiences of later times,” (Bellamy, Mark Twain as a Literary Artist, 16). On this circumstance, he founded an enviable fame and fortune and an enduring artistic achievement. (Bellamy, 17) Although the splendid moment of his fame is still prolonged and extends immeasurably far into the future, that fame was only a small part of his power. There was something about him that moves people who knew nothing of his renown, who did not even know who he was.
Samuel Clemens’ personality was of a sort that compelled those about him so strongly that wherever he went, he seemed a being from another planet, a visitant from some remote star. Biography Born in Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835, “Little Sam” was “a wild-headed, impetuous child of sudden ecstasies,” who was constantly running away in the direction of the river and, as he later wrote, was “drowned nine times in Bear Creek and was suspected of being a cat in disguise”; a vividly imaginative child, who loved the companionship of the good-natured slave and visited the Negro quarters beyond the orchard as a place of ineffable enchantment; a child whose sympathy included all inanimate things; a child who “pitied the dead leaf and the murmuring dried weed of November”(Bellamy, 4-7). In many, if not all, of his novels, short stories, and other works, Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ personal life experiences reflect heavily on his writing plots. Stories such as The Notorious Jumping From of Calaveras County, Roughing It, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, AConnecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finnhave all been closely related to some of the adventurous, dangerous, and childish experiences in Clemens’ own life. As a young man, he developed a troublesome cussedness that distinguished his as a child from his elder and younger brother, Orion and Henry.
His mischievousness led to a series of escapades: several times nearly drowning, purposefully contracting measles, smoking, rolling rocks down a hill before church-bound carriages, and running away from home. Clemens and his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, a port on the Mississippi River, when Samuel was four years old. There, he received a pubic school education. After the death of his father in 1847, Clemens was apprenticed to two Hannibal printers, and in 1851 he began setting type for and contributing sketches to his brother Orion’s Hannibal Journal. He contributed reports, poems, and humorous sketches to the Journal for several years. (Baldanza, Mark Twain, Intro. & Interpretation, 2) In 1857, at 22 years old, Clemens made plans to travel to South America, and in April of that year, he started down the Mississippi River toward New Orleans. In a change of plans, instead of traveling to South America, he persuaded a riverboat pilot named Horace Bixby to teach him the skills of piloting.
With a burning determination for adventure, by April of that year, Samuel had become a licensed riverboat pilot. But, the beginning of the Civil War abruptly closed commercial traffic of the Mississippi River. After serving for two weeks with a Confederate volunteer company, Clemens decided not to become involved in the war. With this decision, he travels west to Carson City, Nevada, with his brother Orion. Later, “Roughing It” humorously described his unsuccessful attempts at prospecting for gold and silver during this time and his eventual conclusions that he must support himself by newspaper journalism (Bellamy, 19-21).
He joined the staff of the Virginia City, Nev., Territorial Enterprise in the summer of 1862 and in 1863, he began signing his articles with the pseudonym Mark Twain, a Mississippi River phrase meaning “two fathoms deep.” (Encarta 97, Mark Twain) After gaining national recognition for the creation of The CelebratedJumping Frog of Calaveras County, Twain was lecturing in New York City as well as traveling to Europe and the Holy Land. In his return, in 1870, his married to the love of his life, Olivia Langdon. In contribution of his happiness Twain characterizes love and marriage in a simple statement: Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. In August of 1870, Jervis Langdon dies of cancer, only three months prior to the birth of his new brother, Langdon. Soon after Langdon was born, the Clemens family moves to Hartford, Connecticut. Through the next ten years, many births and deaths occur within the Clemens family.
In June of 1874, Clara Clemens, a second daughter, is born to Samuel and Olivia. And, in July of 1880, Jean Clemens is born – Twain’s fourth and last child. After the publishing of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Twain’s mother, Jane, dies at the age of ninety. Shortly after, The Clemens family closes their house in Hartford and moves to Europe hoping to economize, in which they live for the next nine years. But, alone in England in August of 1896, Twain learns that his daughter Susy had died of meningitis in Hartford. After he is able to pay off his debts in full, he returns to the States at the turn of the century.
Just four years later, his wife, Olivia died of heart disease. And in the winter of 1910, Twain’s health begins to fall rapidly and dies of angina pectoris on April 21. Analysis A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court Twain prefaced A Connecticut Yankee with “A Word of Explanation” designed to account for the tale that he has yet to unfold. He tells us that, while touring Warwick Castle, he met a “curious stranger” who later gave to him a manuscript “yellow with age.” The reader learns that the stranger’s name is Hank Morgan, and the forty-four chapters that follow are presented as if they came directly from the manuscript he left with Twain. The superintendent of a great arms factory in nineteenth-century Connecticut, Hank is hit over the head with a crowbar during a quarrel with one of the men under him.
When he comes to, he finds himself transported back to sixth-century England, on the outskirts of Camelot. At first he thinks that he has stumbled into a lunatic asylum, but it gradually dawns on him that he may indeed have been magically transported into the past. He quickly determines upon a course of action, telling the reader, “if it was still the nineteenth century and I was among lunatics and couldn’t get away, I would presently boss that asylum or know the reason why; and if on the other hand it was really the sixth-century.. I would boss the whole country inside of three months; for I judged I would have the start of the best-educated man in the kingdom by a matter of thirteen hundred years and upwards.” Captured by one of the knights of the Round Table, Morgan is condemned as a “man-devouring ogre” and sentenced to be burned at the stake. But thanks to an “encyclopedic knowledge” (uncharacteristic of factory foremen), Hank recalls that an eclipse of the sun is close at hand.
He proclaims himself a magician and announces that he will blot out the sun forevermore if he is harmed. Just as he is being chained to the stake, the eclipse conveniently begins, and the court is duly terrified. The king entreats Morgan to restore the sun, and Hank agrees on condition that the king appoint him “perpetual minister and executive” entitled to “one percent of such actual increases of revenue over and above its present amount” that he expects to create for the state. The king agrees to these terms; the eclipse comes to a timely end, and Morgan becomes “The Boss”- second in power only to King Arthur. Determined to “civilized” Camelot by introducing modern industrial technology, Morgan establishes various factories in the countryside, allowing no one near them except by special permit.
He fears the power of the Church and believes that he may be overthrown if he brings about change too quickly: “The people could not have stood it; and moreover I should have had the Established Roman Catholic Church on my back in a minute.” For the next four years, he prepares “the nuclei of future vast factories, the iron and steel missionaries of my future civilization,” but he does so in secret, consolidating his position as a great magician. Because he finds it politically expedient to seem as if he shares the values of the people around him, Morgan eventually is forced to leave the court on a knightly quest. He travels into the country with the Demoiselle Alisande la Carteloise- whom he promptly nicknames “Sandy”- in order to liberat …