Home News & Culture Happy Birthday, Mark Twain!: Travel the World Through His Literature

Happy Birthday, Mark Twain!: Travel the World Through His Literature



Mark Twain is hailed as the father of American literature and is most famous for Huckleberry Finn and The Adventure of Tom Sawyer. Twain’s original name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens and he was born in Florida, Missouri. When he was four, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri which is where he drew inspiration from for the fictional St. Petersburg in Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. 

At the age of 11 he worked at a printer’s apprentice. Seven years later he traveled to New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Cincinnati working as a printer. He also travelled down the Mississippi River by steamboat and was inspired to become a steamboat pilot himself which is where he also earned his pen name “Mark Twain” which is what they yelled for a measure of river depth of two fathoms.

When he was secretary for the governor of the Nevada Territory, he travelled across the Great Plains, Salt Lake City and the Rocky Mountains with him to Virginia City, Nevada. In 1864, Twain moved to San Francisco, California as a journalist. Three years later, he was funded by a local newspaper to travel to the Mediterranean. He also visited the Middle East and Europe and wrote travel letters.

Now that you know the extensive travels of the famous Mark Twain, you can appreciate his lesser known literature. Recommended to read whilst traveling.

1. Roughing It, 1872

roughing it mark twain


Roughing It follows a young Mark Twain in the “Wild West” during the 1860′s. There’s a brief stint with the Confederate army, a visit to Salt Lake City, gold and silver prospecting and a journey to Hawaii.

2. The Innocents Abroad, 1869 

 innocents abroad mark twain


Although The Innocents Abroad was written before Roughing It, it is in fact the sequel. This short story tells the tales of Twain’s travels through Europe and the Middle East abroad the “pleasure cruise” Quaker City. Stops included Italy, France and Gibraltar. 

3. A Tramp Abroad, 1880


[the remnant trust]

This novel is a mix of autobiography and fiction, but still falls into the travel literature genre. It is widely considered a sequel to The Innocents Abroad and chronicles Twain’s travels through Europe including Germany, the Alps, Switzerland, France and Italy. It also contains 328 illustrations.

4. Life on the Mississippi1883

 life on the mississippi mark twain


This book is a memoir of Twain’s experiences traveling down the Mississippi via steamboat during the Civil War. It also includes stories of Twain’s travel from St. Louis to New Orleans after the war.

Are any of these on your must read shelf?



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