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Samuel Longhorne Clemens / 'Mark Twain' (1835 -...

Clemens took ‘Mark Twain’, his pseudonym, from the leadsman’s call on the Mississippi river. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), has been hailed the first ‘Great American Novel’, a concept meaning a novel which most perfectly represents the spirit of life in the United States at the time of its writing. He wrote more than 30 books, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and hundreds of short stories and essays. During the last decade of his life he was a vehement critic of US foreign policy. His ancestors emigrated to the United States from Ballyclare, County Antrim.

Further reading: R. Kent Rasmussen, Critical Companion to Mark Twain: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work (2007).

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