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:

    This nightmare occupied some ten pages of manuscript and wound off with a sermon so destructive of all hope to non-Presbyterians that it took the first prize. This composition was considered to be the very finest effort of the evening.... It may be remarked, in passing, that the number of compositions in which the word ‘beauteous’ was over-fondled, and human experience referred to as ‘life’s page,’ was up to the usual average.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910)

    When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910)

    In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made School Boards.
    Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910)