Mark Twain was born Samuel L. Clemens in Florida, Missouri on November 30, 1835. He worked as a printer for a time, and then became a steamboat pilot. He traveled in the West, writing humorous sketches for newspapers. In 1865, he wrote the short story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which was very well received. He then began a career as a humorous travel writer and lecturer, publishing The Innocents Abroad in 1869, Roughing It in 1872, and, co-authored with Charles Dudley Warner, Gilded Age in 1873. His best-known works are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Mississippi Writing: Life on the Mississippi (1883), and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). He died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910.
Peter Messent is Professor of Modern American Literature at Nottingham University. He is the author of "The Short Works of Mark Twain: A Critical Study" (2001), "Mark Twain" (1997), "Ernest Hemingway" (1992), and "New Readings of the American Novel: Narrative Theory and its Application" (1990), and editor of "Criminal Proceedings: The Contemporary American Crime Nov"el (1997).Louis J. Budd is James B. Duke Professor (Emeritus) of American Literature at Duke University, where he taught American Literature from 1981 to 1991. He is the author of "Mark Twain: Social Philosopher" (reissued 2001) and "Our Mark Twain: The Making of his Public Personality" (1983) and the editor of "Mark Twain: The Contemporary Reviews" (1999). He served as founding president of the Mark Twain Circle of America.