Mark Twain


Mark Twain : biography

It was natural than the book “The Innocents Abroad” was full of mockery of an American at European culture and old traditions. It should be mentioned that it was not only Europe that made subject to Twain’s ridicule but also canonical Scripture. In chapters describing travelling to Palestine, Mark Twain polemicized with the traditions of religious ideas and slightly preventing it showed biblical stories as burlesques. During his whole life he would stick to that way in his writing holding the image of a militant atheist.

Coming back from Europe for the first time Mark Twain met with the Olivia Langdon, daughter a rich businessman who had made his fortune selling coal. The writer liked the girl a lot and made up his mind that it was his destiny to meet her. It was mostly thanks to the successes of the young writer’s book that Olivia’s parents agreed to their marriage – they couldn’t withstand his popularity. The couple married in 1870. Olivia and Mark moved to Hertford, Connecticut State and settled there. They made a harmonic happy alliance in every way. However Mark Twain’s humorous but sharp arrows sometimes found targets among Olivia’s relatives.

Twain’s second book “Roughing It” was published in 1872. It was translated to many foreign languages (including Russian it was published as “Nalegke”) and told about hard routine of gold-diggers and silver-diggers of California and Nevada. Those stories were full of black humor and naturally included American legends of that period of time. Theodore Dreiser wrote about the book the “Roughing It” was a bright picture of fantastic but real present period.

In his written works Mark Twain mentioned that wealth was not sense of life for the people from small towns until they started to dig gold in mines of California. Since that very period the passion for money became the part of American national character. Mark Twain touched the theme in his late short story “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg”. He wanted to show that passion for money can spoil the life on the whole city.

In co-working with writer Charles Warner Mark Twain wrote a novel “Gilded Age” telling about the terrific postwar period – the time of violent money, improbable projects and unfulfilled hopes. However the genre of short story was still the main form for Mark Twain. In 1875 he published a collection of short stories “Sketches new and old”. The collection included the stories that would be known worldwide: “Journalism in Tennessee”, “Answers to Correspondents”, “My First Literary Venture”, “A Fashion Item”, “How I Edited an Agricultural Paper”, “Cannibalism in the Cars” and others. The stories looked like they were written by a naive writer having no idea about the action he was involved in. That method by mark twain gave good humorous situations.

“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” was the first big novel by Mark Twain which he created absolutely independent from correspondence work. That was that very book that brought him worldwide fame. Mark Twain made no attempts to conceal the autobiographic source of the novel. The characteristic of the young Tom Sawyer could be given in a few words: the violator of the bans and saboteur in relation of traditions. However the critics made another image of the character: a businessman who could take advantages out of any situation. They showed good examples in situations when Tom was to paint the fence and the machination with the tickets. But it was hardly the way Tom’s actions should be understood. The inner reason of his actions was rather naughtiness and will to fall on his feet than to get some advantages. Mark Twain planned to make the novel a means of his criticism for present American life but he yield to the romanticism of memories from childhood and gave the novel good-natured humor showing the nuances of child psychology.

Writing the following novel “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” took Mark Twain ten years to finish it. However the book was much different from “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. Mild irony changed to sharp satire, that might be the reason for writing a special notice before the novel full of black humor. Twain wrote in the preface that those who would try to find the motive in the narration would be put to court, those who would try to find morality would be exiled and those who would try to find the subject would be shot. Huck Finn became a hobo accompanied by a negro, he even fought for his freedomand that was the fact insulting American ideas about morality. The novel was published in 1885 and soon was withdrew from libraries in many states. It’s interesting that in 100 years the book was accused of racism and humiliation of Afro-Americans.