Mark Twain’s Literary Legacy and Library


Author Mark Twain, a man of many words, a man of many quotes. (Image: Public Domain)

Few American writers have succeeded in exploring a wide range of subjects and topics like Mark Twain. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, he became popular with the pseudonym Mark Twain. Early in his career, he wrote popular fiction, but he also dabbled in journalism and, later, novel writing.

Throughout his life, he tried many things to earn a living, but his forte was writing — beyond a doubt. His coming-of-age tale The Adventures of Tom Sawyer catapulted him into the league of famous writers of his time, but The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was also popular. When he passed away in 1910, Mark Twain was one of the most prominent and famous writers in America, and his fame transcended geographical boundaries.

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Reflecting on his life experiences later in his writing. Mark Twain became famous for his distinctive narrative style, which had a delectable mix of seriousness, fun, and satire. He was always eager to deflate the pretentious nature of American society.

Mark Twain in 1907. (Image: via Public Domain)

He used similes and metaphors profusely in his writing. His work’s themes reflected the most included moral and intellectual education, the quest for freedom, racism, and slavery. Such was his impact on the next generation of writers that the literary genius Ernest Hemingway said modern American literature reflects the independent nature of Huckleberry Finn. 

Mark Twain set up a library

While the novels and fiction created by Mark Twain are still very popular, not many are aware that Mark Twain helped set up a library where he spent his golden years. The library was set up in his new town of Redding, Connecticut.

He resorted to many unusual measures to gather funding for it, and his approach had no selfishness. He also got in touch with his wealthy friends and associates. After giving a sum of $6,000 for setting up the library, Twain passed away. A year after his demise, The Mark Twain Library was inaugurated in Redding, Connecticut.

The legacy of the stalwart writer has been preserved. His original house and library in Redding were demolished, but a similar building was established on the site. The Mark Twain Library caters to the public, and in its rooms, you will still find the quotes used by the author.

The library is deemed a fitting tribute to Mark Twain. It has many artifacts, including his Bavarian clock, billiard balls, and a traveling writing desk. Also, the library houses over 200 books owned by him. 

The interior of The Mark Twain Library. (Image: via The Mark Twain Library)

If you explore the book collection owned by Mark Twain, you will fathom how diverse his interests were in the field of literature. You will find Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and War of the Worlds by H.G. Well. In addition, there are books covering subjects like philosophy, history, and wildlife. His copies of these books are all preserved in the library. 

Listed below are five books that were Mark Twain’s favorites:

  • Jules Verne’s The Tour of the World in 80 Days — The prolific French author deemed the father of science fiction wrote many works, but this one is a masterpiece.
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Little Lord Fauntleroy — This children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett was a favorite with Twain. He gave this as a gift to his daughter Clara.
  • Herbert K. Job’s Wild Wings — A noted bird photographer Herbert Job accompanied President Theodore Roosevelt on many wilderness trips and wrote about his accounts. 
  • Andrew Carnegie’s James Watt — Noted industrialist Andrew Carnegie gifted this biography book to Twain in 1905, a few years before the latter’s demise.
  • The Works of Robert Browning — Twain also enjoyed the poetry of Robert Browning. Browning’s use of dark humor and irony caught his fancy. 

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