The world lost Mark Twain, real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), one hundred years ago but his words, wit and wisdom live on. Can there be anyone who loves literature who has not read one of his books?
His impact on the literary world is still felt and his humor is as sharp as ever. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Huckleberry Finn (1884), The Prince and the Pauper (1881) and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), and his travel books remain must-reads but his bibliography is extensive and always worth investigation.
”There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.”
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”
“A crowded police docket is the surest of all signs that trade is brisk and money plenty”
“No country can be well governed unless its citizens as a body keep religiously before their minds that they are the guardians of the law, and that the law officers are only the machinery for its execution, nothing more.”
“He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it — namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain”
“After a few months’ acquaintance with European ‘coffee,’ one’s mind weakens, and his faith with it, and he begins to wonder if the rich beverage of home, with its clotted layer of yellow cream on top of it, is not a mere dream after all, and a thing which never existed.”
“When I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books, for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved.”
“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.”
“The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that’s what an army is - a mob; they don't fight with courage that's born in them, but with courage that's borrowed from their mass, and from their officers. But a mob without any MAN at the head of it is BENEATH pitifulness”
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”
“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”
“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”
“When in doubt tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.”
“The thug is aware that loudness convinces 60 persons where reasoning convinces but one.”
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Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography
Mark Twain: The Adventures of Samuel L. Clemens