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The library of America is dedicated to publishing America's best and most significant writing in handsome, enduring volumes, featuring authoritative texts. Hailed as the finest-looking, longest-lasting editions ever made (The New Republic), Library of America volumes make a fine gift for any occasion. Now, with exactly one hundred volumes to choose from, there is a perfect gift for everyone.
Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, in 1835, and died at Redding, Connecticut in 1910. In his person and in his pursuits he was a man of extraordinary contrasts. Although he left school at twelve when his father died, he was eventually awarded honorary degrees from Yale University, the University of Missouri, and Oxford University. His career encompassed such varied occupations as printer, Mississippi riverboat pilot, journalist, travel writer, and publisher. He made fortunes from his writing but toward the end of his life he had to resort to lecture tours to pay his debts. He was hot-tempered, profane, and sentimentaland also pessimistic, cynical, and tortured by self-doubt. His nostalgia helped produce some of his best books. He lives in American letters as a great artist, the writer whom William Dean Howells called the Lincoln of our literature. Susan K. Harris is Joyce and Elizabeth Hall Distinguished Professor of American Literature at the University of Kansas.