Happy (Belated) Birthday, Mark Twain!

“Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.” – Pudd’nhead Wilson

Happy Birthday, Mr. Twain!

We here at iUMBC do not celebrate every manly author’s birthday, though we are waiting for an invite to Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s (C’mon Carlos, we read Shadow of the Wind AND Angel’s Game, and loved them both!).

However, today is a very special day, for on this day in 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born. Within his lifetime, he produced 28 books and a multitude of short stories, essays, and epistles. He was a pioneer in American literature. He was one of the first to use the common vernacular in his writing, and it was this style of writing that made him accessible to a broad range of readers. While accessible, Twain’s writing was also deeply analytical, and continues to be a brilliant commentary on society, culture, and human interaction.

“I haven’t any right to criticise books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” – Mark Twain

Twain also understood the manly need for adventure, and many of his storied revolved around the drive of young men to explore, conquer, and understand their worlds. As Twain’s characters explore, so do his readers. Who, when reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn does not find themselves picturing what it would be like to just board a raft and float away down the river? While arguably the most well known character of Twain, Huckleberry is not the only one to live a life of adventure. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Innocent’s Abroad, even his story The Mysterious Stranger involve a desire for a life of adventure.

So, as we tip our hats to one of the greatest of America’s manly authors, we thought we would share some of our favorite manly quotes from Mr. Twain.

“There are three kinds of people–Commonplace Men, Remarkable Men, and Lunatics.”

“Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn’t any. But this wrongs the jackass.”

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.”

“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. -The Prince and the Pauper”

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

“Be careful of reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education”

“I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.”

And finally:

“Jane Austen? Why I go so far as to say that any library is a good library that does not contain a volume by Jane Austen. Even if it contains no other book.”

About john

After an unfortunate run in with a narwhal forced early retirement from his life as a pirate on the Seven Seas, John turned his attention to his second love, Mountain Watching. He is currently fighting to prove that Mount Huascaran has moved 3 feet to the left in the past year, and that one night he saw it crying. When he is not watching mountains, John can be found practicing for the National Caber Toss competition, having staring contests with jaguars, or helping little old ladies cross busy streets.

Currently Reading:
"River of Doubt" by Candace Miller
"The Buried Giant" by Kazuo Ishiguro
"Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel
"S." by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams
"Hamilton" by Ron Chernow
"Storm Front" by Jim Butcher
"Lisrael" by Garth Nix


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