Samuel Langhorne Clemens took the pen-name "Mark Twain", a name which indicates a point in a river when where it becomes too shallow for a steamboat to travel. Twain drew on his experience of life by the great rivers of the south and wrote the great american novel. He was not un-controversial in his own time, however. His use of vernacular language in his writings caused some of his contemporaries to label him as vulgar. Today his linguistic transgressions are largely forgiven and he seen as an innovator who defined a truly American literature. Watch a c-span special or lecture about Mark Twain's humor. Click here to watch a dramatized interview with Mark Twain. You can also watch The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with Real Player.
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