Calendar of Cool: Mark Twain Responds to Rumors of his Death

Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens but better known by his pen name, Mark Twain was a popular American humorist, writer, and lecturer. After apprenticing to a printer, working on Mississippi steamboat, travelling with a militia unit, and mining silver, Twain finally turned to journalism and began his career as a writer.

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Perhaps his most famous book is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn(1884), which combines humor and social criticism with an engrossing story. Among his other novels are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), The Prince and the Pauper (1881), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889). Twain, who also wrote short stories and nonfiction, is credited with helping to establish a distinctly American literature with homegrown diction and themes. 


In 1897 – some thirteen years premature – Twain’s obituary appeared in William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. When he heard about it, Twain commented that “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”


If there’s a cooler way to dispel a rumor about yourself, I don’t know what it is!