Samuel Clemens, writing as Mark Twain, is one of the most popular authors in American literature, and his unique brand of intelligent, sometimes caustic, humor is as popular around the world as it is in the United States.
Twain’s classics Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer continue to delight readers of all ages more than a century after their publication. No less an authority on literature than Ernest Hemingway cited Huckleberry Finn as his favorite book, and recommended it as a must-read for aspiring writers.
Writing was actually Mark Twain’s third choice of vocation. His original goal was to become a preacher but in his own words he “lacked the necessary stock in trade – religion.“ He enjoyed a degree of success as a Mississippi river boat pilot, but the Civil War put an end to his second choice of work.
Twain began his writing career as a journalist in Nevada and California, where he established his reputation as a humorist. Twain’s first book, The Jumping Frog, failed to earn any royalties for the budding novelist, and he vowed not to write another unless there was money in it.
Fortunately, Twain was introduced to the subscription system of book publishing and he went on to become one of the best loved writers. Unlike the traditional system of sellingthrough book stores, the subscription publisher fielded an army of door-to-door salesmen. Customers tended to be less educated farmers, and welcomed the opportunity for company, even if it was a salesmen.
Books were generally ordered in advance of publication, and this system allowed Mark Twain to become one of the most popular authors in America by appealing directly to the mass public.
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