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Mark Twain: The 'father of American literature'

Journalist, riverboat pilot, traveller, failed entrepreneur and writer with legendary wit. Bridget Kendall and guests discuss the life, work and legacy of Mark Twain.

Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was known for his piercing wit, irreverent satire and social commentary. Leaving school early following the death of his father, he lived many lives in one: spending time as a journalist, steamboat pilot and world traveller, suffering significant personal and financial losses. These are just some of the experiences that would feed into his novels, articles, short stories, essays and the thousands of letters that are still being unearthed today.

Best known for his book Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which tells the story of a rebellious young boy called Huck floating down the Mississippi River with a runaway slave called Jim, Twain developed a style that led to him being credited as "the father of American literature". The work, like so much of Twain's other writing, tackles serious social issues and continues to be shrouded in controversy to this day.

Bridget Kendall discusses his life and works with Twain scholars Shelley Fisher Fiskin, Thomas Smith, Jocelyn Chadwick and Mark Dawidziak.

(Photo: Mark Twain (Donaldson Collection. Credit: Getty Images)

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41 minutes

Last on

Tue 17 Jul 2018 23:06GMT


  • Sat 14 Jul 2018 19:06GMT
  • Tue 17 Jul 2018 17:06GMT
  • Tue 17 Jul 2018 23:06GMT

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