Episode: Mark Twain: The First Truly American Writer - episode: 265673
Samuel Langhorne Clements was born in 1835 in Florida, Missouri. By the time of his death in 1910, he was known aruond the world as Mark Twain, "the first truly American writer" and the country's greatest humorist. In his lifetime, he published over 30 books, both fiction and non-fiction, and wrote countless sketches, articles, essays and letters. He traveled the world, and as a lecturer appeared on five continents. Biographer Ron Powers has dubbed him "America's first rock star." Mark Twain is one of the few authors whose books were bestsellers over three centuries. Some of his works were controversial when they were written, and they still are today. But even critics who have a problem with his language and manner do not deny that he is the quintessential American writer. Mark Twain has become a part of American culture: schools in 16 states are named for him: there are parks, playgrounds, and libraries also named for him.