About This Book
This book is so familiar to most readers that its contents hardly need an
introduction. But if Tom is known to all, it's because of the universal
appeal of his adventurous and independent spirit his all-boy
charm. There may not be inkwells on the school desks any more, but just
about every other joke and scrape in Tom's life could have happened
yesterday. Or could be happening now. If you have not read "Tom Sawyer,"
you've missed out. If you have read it, well, it's time to read it again!
About Mark Twain ( Samuel Langhorne Clemens )
Sam Clemens, a native of Missouri, lived and worked along the Mississippi
River as a young man. With not much formal schooling, he was apprenticed
to a printer, and as a young man he worked as a printer and a newspaper
writer. He enjoyed a short but successful career as a riverboat pilot
(a highly respectable position), and after a brief stint in the militia
during the Civil War, he joined his brother in Nevada and resumed writing
this time as free-lance writer and columnist.
It was during this
interval that he began using the pen name of Mark Twain, taking from his
riverboat days a term which meant "two fathoms deep" a safe depth.
His first book, a collection of stories titled, "The Celebrated Jumping
Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches," was published in 1867. His
second, "Innocents Abroad," written after a trip to Europe and the Middle
East, appeared in 1869. It sold well and made him an established writer
by the time he was 35 years old. The following year, in 1870, he married
Mark Twain produced other entertaining travel books in the same vein:
"Roughing it" in 1872, "A Tramp Abroad" in 1880, and "Following the
Equator" in 1897, but it is for his novels that he is most known. His
best work was done beginning in 1876, with "Tom Sawyer." It was followed
by "The Prince and the Pauper," in 1880, "Life on the Mississippi,"
describing his river-pilot days, then the admirably realized "Huckleberry
Finn," in 1884, and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court,"
But Twain was a far better writer than he was a businessman, and in 1893,
at about the time that "Pudd'nhead Wilson" was published, a series of
disastrous business deals forced him into bankruptcy. Although with
hard work he was able to repay all his debts, the effort told on his
writing. The sadness that resulted from the deaths of his daughter,
and then his brother and a sister, followed by the death of his wife a
few years later, gave the work of his final years a bleaker tone, and
it was less successful. Overall, however, he stands as one of America's
most popular writers and humorists.