Five Fascinating Facts about Mark Twain

Interesting Literature

Fun Mark Twain facts, including his inventions, unusual lecture topics, and numerous pen names

1. Mark Twain wrote a pornographic story set during Elizabethan times. Titled ‘1601’, this bawdy tale – known as a ‘squib’ – was written in 1876 and purports to be the excerpt from a diary written by Queen Elizabeth I’s cup-bearer. Elizabeth has conversations with numerous notable persons of the age, including William Shakespeare and Sir Walter Raleigh. When somebody breaks wind, Elizabeth tries to find out who did it. (Spoiler alert: Raleigh did it.) As John Bird notes, ‘one of Twain’s points’ was ‘that the figures we now hold in such high regard habitually used extremely coarse language’.

It is surprising to reflect that neither of the books which are now considered canonical and quintessential Twain – Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn – was Twain’s bestselling book during his lifetime:

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About Henrietta Handy

I am a Kentucky mountain girl far from home, perhaps far from the girl years. I am an aspiring writer with a wonderful husband who puts up with this writing and reading addiction I have. He also puts up with all of the yarn and knitting. I have four canine children and a ton of friends I love dearly. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 2 1/2 and have still managed to have a good life despite all the pain. So, I invite you to join me in this journey and just possibly have fun along the way.
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