Steamboats of The Mississippi - Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Many of the works of Mark Twain deal with or take place near the Mississippi River. One of his first major works, Life on the Mississippi, is in part a history of the river, in part a memoir of Twain's experiences on the river, and a collection of tales that either take place on or are associated with the river. Twain's most famous work, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is largely a journey down the river. The novel works as an episodic meditation on American culture with the river having multiple different meanings including independence, escape, freedom, and adventure.

Twain himself worked as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi for a few years. A steamboat pilot needed a vast knowledge of the ever-changing river to be able to stop at any of the hundreds of ports and wood-lots along the river banks. Twain meticulously studied 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of the Mississippi for more than two years before he received his steamboat pilot license in 1859. While training, he convinced his younger brother Henry to work with him. Henry died on June 21, 1858, when the steamboat he was working on, the Pennsylvania, exploded.

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Famous quotes by mark twain:

    You may say a cat uses good grammar. Well, a cat does—but you let a cat get excited once; you let a cat get to pulling fur with another cat on a shed, nights, and you’ll hear grammar that will give you the lockjaw. Ignorant people think it’s the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it’s the sickening grammar they use.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910)

    By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man’s, I mean.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910)

    Well, I had gone and spoiled it again, made another mistake. A double one in fact. There were plenty of ways to get rid of that officer by some simple and plausible device, but no, I must pick out a picturesque one; it is the crying defect of my character.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910)

    The election makes me think of a story of a man who was dying. He had only two minutes to live, so he sent for a clergyman and asked him, ‘Where is the best place to go to?’ He was undecided about it. So the minister told him that each place had its advantages—heaven for climate, and hell for society.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910)

    Be virtuous and you will be eccentric.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910)