Exploring the Life of Mark Twain

Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens, is known to be one of the literary giants of all time.  Many of his expressions and sayings are still being quoted today, and his many books are read and enjoyed the world over.  For anyone interested in learning more about Mark Twain, there are many ways to approach this exploration.  Certainly, one can begin at the official Mark Twain website, where you’ll learn about his family background, his many publications, about tribute sites to him and much more.

Another way to get to know the man and the author is to read his collective works.  Starting with the story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavara County” that appeared in the New York Saturday Press in 1865, Twain wrote a total of 28 books, numerous short stories, many letters and a handful of sketches.  This collection, alone, could fill months, if not more, of a curious reader’s time.

Another fascinating way to learn more about Twain is to find original manuscripts, letters and documents of his.  These are available from the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, from the Mark Twain House and Museum and in other locations.

While reading a biography about Twain will offer great insights and information, it’s important to remember that each biography was written by a person with his own agenda and perspective. First hand documents, however, like those at the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, have no other bias than that of the author himself.  His original documents explore his writings, his emotion and his journeys.

Certainly, there are many ways to garner insights about a literary giant like Mark Twain.  Serious researchers can explore original documents at Shapell Manuscript Foundation or at the Mark Twain House; those looking for a bit more silliness can join in the Calavaras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee held every third weekend in May in Calavaras County, California.  There is always more to learn about Twain, and many avenues to take in doing so.


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