Mark Twain was undoubtedly one of the most renowned literary figures of the 19th century. His books, novels, and magazine articles about the American way of life have become timeless classics and have increased his fame throughout the years. But what remains somewhat uncertain is how tall he was. According to iconic American literature historian Harold Bloom, Twain was of above-average height but not tall. “No one was ever able to correctly measure his height as he refused to cooperate and have his size determined”. This is echoed by Twain himself in an old newspaper article where he joked about his supposed height being 6’ tall, whereas the reality was far closer to 5’8”.
William Dean Howells, a writer and editor at Literary Republic Magazine, provides some insight into this matter. He states Twain’s height was, “somewhat above average, but his presence and charisma outshone his physical stature”. His friend, the famed literary critic Mark Van Doren, commented, “Catalyzed by his wit and mesmerizing storytelling capability, Twain was still taller to me”. It seemed, then, as if height really mattered much less to Twain and his peers than to those currently trying to find an answer to the question.
What is true is that Twain seemed to take a certain pride in his height. In his essay, “Business and Success”, he wrote, “People often look down upon those who are not tall, but this does not have to stop them from reaching success.” And, to prove that point, he was always eager to talk about his accomplishments and his stature. Many biographers and humor researchers have noted that Twain often spoke of himself as if he were much taller than he was. “He referred to himself as if he were giants walking among the people”, remembers literary critic and Twain admirer Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Interestingly, Twain used his reputation as a joke with great effect. He constantly made fun of his small stature by calling himself Jack the Giant Killer. He was also known to make clever remarks about his height and the tendency of people to underestimate him. “I think that I’m about four-foot-seven, but I’m not sure; I haven’t used a ruler”, joked Twain to a reporter from the London Evening Standard in the autumn of 1887. In this case, Twain was making himself look smaller than he really was, just to add to the humor.
Apart from the frequent jokes, Twain never let his height bother him. Instead, he used it to his advantage by conquering the world of literature with his witty humor and infectious charm. While his exact height still remains a mystery, it doesn’t take away from his place in the pantheon of greats in American literature.
Life and Works of Mark Twain
Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was a renowned American author who wrote numerous books and short stories that are still considered classics today.He was born in 1835 in Florida, Missouri, and eventually moved to Hannibal, Missouri, where he began his writing career.Twain wrote some of his most famous work as a newspaper reporter.He wrote journalism for a few newspapers, most notably the Territorial Enterprise, and soon became a writer of short stories and humorous essays, which made him famous in America and beyond.
Twain was a renowned humorist, a trait that translated into his writing. He wrote about the human experience, with wit, satire and a realism that kept readers enthralled. He wrote both novels and short stories, but is most famous for his two most acclaimed works, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. His writing touched on issues of race, religion, mortality, and morality in such a way that they became a part of American literature and culture.
Critical opinion of Twain’s work is almost unanimous, Philip Fonoroff, in the New York Times Book Review, says that “Twain stands among the giants in American fiction.” Penelope Niven, in her book on Twain’s life, writes that Twain “rightly remains one of the major shapers of our imaginative universe.” Whether one reads Twain’s works for the laughs or insightful social commentary, his influence is undeniable.
The Legacy of Mark Twain
Mark Twain’s influence on American literature is impossible to overstate. His writing has become part of the American literary canon and his influence can be seen in modern works of literature. His works, both novels and short stories, have been adapted for film and television and continue to be read hundreds of years after his death.
Twain was also an advocate of civil rights, championing equality and justice in his works and his actions. Twains views on justice made him an ally of African-Americans, and his works speak of the injustices of enslavement. His famous novel, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, was written largely to criticize the injustices of slavery and racism.
In addition to his political views, Twain was also an advocate of women’s rights and suffrage. He played a role in the suffrage movement and spoke out in favor of women’s rights at a time when it was largely unheard of. His works speak to his beliefs and his commitment to a more equitable society.
Twain’s impact on American culture is still palpable today. His works are still read and studied, and his influence continues to shape modern American literature. He was an advocate for civil rights, women’s suffrage, and justice, and his works reflect the importance of these topics. His works are beloved by readers of all ages, and he will continue to remain an integral part of American literature and culture.
Fact and Legends Surrounding Mark Twain
Mark Twain is a man of many myths and legends, some of which are true and some of which are not. He was a teller of tall tales, a wit and a humorist, and his life has become a legend. During his lifetime, he cultivated an image of the quintessential American, and since his death, this image has only been reinforced by stories and folklore.
One story that often circulates is that Twain was a good friend of Nikola Tesla. While it is true that these two influential men knew each other, it is highly unlikely that they were as close as many people would like to believe. Tesla was a man of science, and Twain was a man of letters. Still, Twain was always interested in new technologies, and he was likely to have been quite fascinated by Tesla’s inventions.
Another myth that surrounds Twain is that he was born in Tennessee. It’s true that Twain lived in many places during his lifetime, including Tennessee, but he was actually born in Florida, Missouri. Twain was not actually born with the name Twain, either. His given name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
Another story that is often told about Twain is that he was the first person to ride a bicycle across America. While he certainly could have been the first to ride a bicycle across the United States, it was actually another man who made the first recorded ride a few months earlier. Twain did however, make a bicycle tour in Europe at around the same time.
Twain was a prolific writer and storyteller, and during his lifetime he wrote some of the most iconic works of American literature. Even after his death, his memories continue to live on in the many stories and legends that still surround his life. Whether true or untrue, these stories continue to fascinate readers and bring Twain’s life to life.
The Cultural Significance of Mark Twain
Mark Twain’s writing has been of great importance to generations of readers. He has been a cornerstone of American literature, with his works being taught in schools and studied in an academic context. But his works are also deeply embedded in American culture, as his writing speaks to ideas and issues that have resonated with Americans for generations.
The themes that Twain writes about, such as freedom, equality, justice, and mortality, still echo in American society today. He wrote about what it meant to be American during the 19th century, and his writing provides a glimpse into a past that still impacts us today. Twain’s use of humor and wit are particularly notable, and his writing is often seen as a source of solace in turbulent times.
Twain’s work is also celebrated for its use of the English language. His use of the language is often praised, as it captures the essence of the American spirit with its cadence, word choice, and humor. His works are widely considered some of the most beautifully written pieces of literature, and they continue to be read and studied.
For generations, Twain’s works have continued to be read and studied, and his influence can be seen in many modern books and films. He remains one of the most iconic figures in American literary history, and his works are essential to understanding our history and culture. Even his ability to make us laugh in troubled times is a testament to Twain’s enduring legacy.
Critical Reception and Legacy of Mark Twain
Mark Twain’s work has been hailed as one of the most enduring and influential pieces of American literature ever written. His works have stood the test of time, and remain as much a part of the American consciousness now as when they were first written. Twain’s books contain incisive social commentary and hilarious wit that continues to make them relevant to this day.
Twain was perhaps the most enduring writer of his time, and his works have been praised by both critics and readers alike. His stories are internationally recognizable, and they have been adapted for both film and stage. Modern adaptations retain the humor and wit of the original works. Twain’s writings have also been the inspiration for numerous writers and works, and he continues to be an influence to this day.
Twain’s legacy is that of an American icon and one of the most beloved writers of all time. His works have resonated with many generations of readers, and his stories still hold a special place in the hearts of his fans. Even after his death, Twain remains a source of inspiration for writers, and a source of solace for readers. From his years of writing to this day, Twain’s words are beloved by many, and his influence will be felt for years to come.