If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
— Mark Twain
He came into the world with Halley’s Comet as the herald of his birth, and one year before his passing he remarked, “I came in with Halley’s Comet. It is coming again next year. The Almighty has said, no doubt, ‘Now there are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together’.”
There are few luminaries of literature who burned as brightly as Mark Twain, with such timeless tales that continue to inflame our minds and hearts.
The Cometary Writer
Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, was an iconic American author and humorist. He is best known for his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which are considered classics of American literature in the genre of Realism.
Twain grew up along the Mississippi River in the town of Hannibal, Missouri, an experience that deeply influenced his writing. His works often reflect his fascination with the river and the people of the American South. Twain's writing is characterized by a keen wit, humor, and a profound understanding of human nature.
In the 1860s, Twain began his writing career as a journalist, gaining fame for his humorous and satirical articles, and his story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. His pen name, Mark Twain, was a riverboat call signaling two fathoms deep, or 12 feet deep required for safe passage of riverboats, which he adopted from his time as a riverboat pilot . In 1869, he published The Innocents Abroad, a travel narrative that brought him international recognition.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) was Twain's first major literary success. The novel vividly captures the joys and challenges of boyhood in the Antebellum South. Its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), is considered one of the greatest American novels. The book explores themes of racism and freedom through the journey of Huck Finn, an adolescent boy escaping from the clutches of his abusive father with Jim, a runaway slave.
Mark Twain's writing reflects a deep understanding of the human condition, often using humor and satire to critique societal norms and injustices. His works transcend their historical context, addressing universal themes that continue to resonate with readers today.
Twain's later years were marked by financial struggles from failed business ventures and personal tragedies including the death of his wife and two of his daughters. Despite these challenges, he remained a prominent figure in American culture and literature, and his legacy endures. Mark Twain passed away on April 21, 1910, but his impact on society persists, making him a timeless and influential figure in American literary history.
EndlessPens Recommends: Mark Twain’s Youthful Pursuits
One of Mark Twain’s sagely snippets for aspiring writers is “Write what you know”. He often emphasized the importance of drawing from personal experiences. Writing about familiar subjects allows for a more authentic and compelling narrative that resonates with readers. To honor his 113th birthday, EndlessPens would like to share some fountain pens, trusty writing companions that capture the familiar, childlike exuberance of starting our fountain pen journey —
LAMY Safari Candy Fountain Pen – What brings as much joy as a bagful of colorful candies - and without the sugar hit? This 2020 Special Edition LAMY. The fresh trio, composed of violet, aquamarine and mango, is reminiscent of pop art, fruit sorbet, and sugar icing. With attractive colors, timeless design, perfect ergonomics, these are just some of the reasons that the LAMY Safari is one of the most popular writing instruments worldwide. This fountain pen has a distinctive recessed grip that guarantees writing comfort and a sturdy plastic with metal clip, ergonomic grip, and a black chromium-plated steel nib.
Pelikan Vintage P20 Twist Fountain Pen – From January 1988, Pelikan released the P10 and P20 Twists. Unlike the P10, both the cap and barrel of the P20 is be adorned with one to four shades. As before, Pelikan would be denoted by the logo at the cap's terminal and the nib's engraving. Over time (from 1990), the printing was perfected, with more intricate patterns and over four tints, and the Pelikan logo now found at the cap's base.
Faber-Castell Calligraphy Gift Set – The Grip 2011 concept clearly compels with its appealing grip design in classic colors and sophisticated ergonomics. The characteristic dots match the shaft in color. This is how easy calligraphy with a fountain pen can be. This set has three different calligraphy widths: 1.1 mm, 1.4 mm and 1.8 mm. It is made for expressive, sweeping ink writing, with three ink colors, and is ideal for hand lettering.
Sailor Shikiori Tsukuyo no Minamo Fountain Pen – The Sailor Shikiori fountain pen's classic profile and medium size make it wonderfully versatile and comfortable to hold in any hand. Its fine steel nib is firm yet smooth, providing a pleasant and precise writing experience.
Opus 88 Mini Pocket Pen Desk Creatures Fountain Pen - This is a Special Edition Endless Exclusive for 2023. This was inspired by the EndlessPens team's can't live without desk items — illustrated by our very own @gabbitries.
May these fountain pens rekindle your youthful enthusiasm for writing, and help you create narratives that are truly personal and timeless.
The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
— Mark Twain
Happy 113th Birthday, Mark Twain!
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!