Mark Twain [´mRk ´tweIn] is the pen-name of Samuel Clemens [´sxmjVql ´klemqnz], America's greatest humorist.
He was born in the family of a small town lawyer in 1835. When Sam was twelve years old, his father died, and the boy had to earn a living for himself. So he began to work at a printshop in his home town. Later on he became a pilot on the Mississippi. Mark Twain always thought that his days on the Mississippi were the happiest in his life.
As a writer he was successful from the very start.
Mark Twain's story of Jim Smiley and his Jumping Frog made him famous all over America. This story was followed by a number of short stories and novels.
Most of Mark Twain early writings sparkle with gay humour. As he advanced in years, however, all the evils of capitalist America became obvious to him. This brought a pessimistic note into his later works.
Mark Twain died in 1910.