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Mark Twain Bookmark Mark Twain (1835-1910)

A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.”

Aside from being a popular writer, Mark Twain was one of the great entertainers of his day. Around the country and around the globe, people packed lecture halls to hear him speak.

He preferred writing and declared on several occasions that he was giving up public speaking for good. But time and again, financial necessity drew him back to the stage.

Late in life and deeply in debt after bankrolling an ill-conceived typesetting machine, he took to the road once more for what would be his final and most glorious tour. It took him to India, Ceylon, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and finally to London, where crowds thronged him in the street. He served as a kind of ambassador of American sensibility to the world.

He showed his own countrymen what it meant to be American as well. Twain’s works such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn proved that world-class literature could be created from humble American characters, and literature could be made from uniquely American ways of speaking. Hemingway himself said, “All modern American literature comes from Huck Finn. There was nothing before. There’s been nothing so good since.
Mark Twain