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:

    All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.... American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.
    Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961)

    Carlyle said ‘a lie cannot live.’ It shows that he did not know how to tell them. If I had taken out a life policy on this one the premiums would have bankrupted me ages ago.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910)

    Martyrdom covers a multitude of sins.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910)

    Our press is certainly bankrupt in the ‘thrill of awe’Motherwise reverence: reverence for nickel plate and brummagem. Let us sincerely hope that this fact will remain a fact forever; for to my mind a discriminating irreverence is the creator and protector of human liberty.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910)