-All modern American literatue comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn- There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.- Hemingway-s comment is scarcely an exaggeration. While critics have argues over the symbolic significance of Huck-s and Jim-s voyage down the Mississippi, none as disputed the greatness of the book itself.
When began modestly as -a kind of companion to Tom Sawyer- grew under Mark Twain-s hand into a work of immeasurable richness. In its distrust of too much civilization and its concern with the way language turns dreamy and corrupt when divorced from life, it is a thoroughly modern novel. And more than modern in its hero, who is, according to T.S. Eliot, -one of the permanent symbolic figures of fiction, not unworthy to take a place with Ulysses, Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Hamlet and other discoveries which man has made, about himself.
About the Author(s)
Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in 1835. When Sam was four, the family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, on the Mississippi river, where he spent an idyllic boyhood. His father died when he was twelve, and he was apprenticed to a printer, which began his career of reporting and writing entertaining, humorous sketches. But in 1857 he yielded to his boyhood ambition and trained with the great Horace Bixby as a river-boat pilot (from which experience he took the name Mark Twain). The Civil War, however, put an end to the river traffic- and an end to Twains career as well. After a brief, hilarious was experience ( chronicled in The History of a Campaign that Failed) he turned his hand to silver prospecting, went back to journalism, and finally published his first short story in 1865.
Mark Twains career was a central, representative one in American letters, making the already established role of humorist into a central post of social observation. His worldwide reputation was based on a gift for mixing the boyish mischief and innocence of a nave, vernacular vision with a dark, bitter view of man as hypocrite, victim and self-deceiver. His finest works are generally considered to be life on the Mississippi (1883), not a novel but a superbly evocative memoir, a brilliant account of pilot age and a criticism of the South; A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthurs Court (1889); The American Claimant (1892); Puddnhead Wilson (1894); and his masterpiece, The adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885); one of the worlds great books Mark Twain died in 1910.