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Samuel Clemens alias Mark Twain is an American icon whose razor-sharp wit and inimitable genius have entertained countless readers for more than a century His many publications include such gallant childhood essentials as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn along with many dozens of other works ranging from airy magazine columns to focused biting anti-imperialist satire He was born in Hannibal Missouri in 1835 The Clemens family consisted of two brothers a sister and the family-owned slave Jenny whose vivid storytelling was a formative influence on the young Sam As he was growing up his parents explained their perspective on the nature of things in the established South about the slave-owning tradition and about rough western justice Reflections of this pre-war southern upbringing are found in many of Twains writings and although his images are quite idyllic one cannot ignore the constant historical reminders of some of Americas more unacceptable social realities Sam Clemens first discovered his literary talents through an apprenticeship at a local printing shop He was exposed to countless books and became an avid reader For him a career in journalism was more than natural but it wasnt until the marriage of his sister that Sam was inspired to real action Bound by train he left Hannibal for New York City Shortly thereafter he found himself in Philadelphia working in the publishing and journalism fields Eventually he relocated to Cincinatti with the intention of saving enough money to explore the Amazon by way of New Orleans His method of travel was to be the fateful steamboat and while contemplating his future he discovered his deep internal connection with the Mississippi river Suddenly he knew he had to learn how to pilot steamboats and this urge proved stronger than anything he had known before Stronger even than the idea of explorations in South America Some years later after he had left the
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