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The twelve notebooks in volume 1 provided information about the eighteen years in which the most profound, even dramatic, changes took place in Clemens' life. He early achieved the limits of his boyhood ambition by becoming a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River, a position there is no reason to believe he would have abandoned if the Civil War had not forced him to do so. In fleeing from a war which principle and temperament prevented him from supporting, Clemens entered into the first stages of his literary career by serving as a reporter for newspapers in Virginia City and San Francisco. When the restricted experiences available to a local reporter had been thoroughly explored, he moved on as a traveling correspondent to the Sandwich Islands and then still farther to Europe and the Near East.



About the Author

Mark Twain

, better known by his pen name , was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels (1885) , called "the Great American Novel", and Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for and . He apprenticed with a printer. He also worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to his older brother Orion's newspaper. After toiling as a printer in various cities, he became a master riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River, before heading west to join Orion. He was a failure at gold mining, so he next turned to journalism. While a reporter, he wrote a humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," which proved to be very popular and brought him nationwide attention. His travelogues were also well-received. Twain had found his calling. He achieved great success as a writer and public speaker. His wit and satire earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty. However, he lacked financial acumen. Though he made a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, he squandered it on various ventures, in particular the Paige Compositor, and was forced to declare bankruptcy. With the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers, however, he eventually overcame his financial troubles. Twain worked hard to ensure that all of his creditors were paid in full, even though his bankruptcy had relieved him of the legal responsibility. Born during a visit by Halley's Comet, he died on its return. He was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age", and called Twain "the father of American literature".



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