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Monday, April 21, 2008

Mark Twain


Ninety-eight years ago today writer Mark Twain (born Samuel L. Clemens) died after a brief illness. The Washington Post noted in a timeline published upon Twain's death, that he was best known for his work, The Innocents Abroad [F TWA]. Today, I'll wager than almost no one has read that particular novel, but The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [F TWA, also AB/CD TWA] is often required reading in America's schools.

Personally I think of Twain as a great American humorist, and I've collected many of his quotes over the years as they always make me laugh, especially this one:
Of all God's creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.

Here are a few more:

All generalizations are false, including this one.

Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.

Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.

To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.

We have the best government that money can buy.
(If he had lived today, I think Jon Stewart would have had Mark Twain on his show as a frequent guest!)

If you'd like to read more quotations, visit twainquotes.com, or borrow The Comic Mark Twain Reader: The Most Humorous Selections from His Stories, Sketches, Novels, Travel Books, and Speeches [F TWA].

Grant and Twain: The Story of a Friendship That Changed America
by Mark Perry [920 PER] makes for some interesting reading for, according to Perry, we may not have had The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or U.S. Grant's autobiography if the two men had not met and formed a friendship.

If you're ever in Hartford, visit the Mark Twain House and Museum. The restoration work was magnificently done!

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