Mark Twain at his boyhood home in Hannibal, MO in 1902. Color tinted by Kent Rasmussen © 2004

Coming from Hannibal, Missouri, I grew up with Mark Twain everywhere. It is simply impossible to grow up there without being inundated with everything Twain. So I rebelled.

Aside from reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn endless times, I refused to have anything to do with Twain. Feeble attempts were begun at reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and The Prince and the Pauper, but to no avail. They lay neglected and forgotten on the bureau, eventually returned to the library unread.

But now I have grown older, and in spite of myself, I am learning to appreciate Mark Twain in new and interesting ways. I understand many of his quotes because I grew up in the same town with many of the same ideas and the same humour, which has permeated everything in my life. So I give you Mark Twain, as insightful to the human condition as he is a quintessential raconteur and purveyor of light-hearted banter.

— J. E. Clark | 15 March 2011


There are three things which I consider excellent advice. First, don’t smoke to access. Second, don’t drink to excess. Third, don’t marry to excess.

A man never reaches that dizzy height of wisdom that he can no longer be led by the nose. — Mark Twain’s Notebook

There is nothing comparable to the endurance of a woman. In military life she would tire out an army of men, either in camp or on the march. — Mark Twain’s Autobiography

I talked in a snow-white full dress, swallow-tail and all, and dined in the same. It’s a delightful impudence. I think I will call it my dontcareadam suit. But in the case of the private dinner I will always ask permission to wear it first saying: “Dear Madam, may I come in my dontcareadams?” — quoted in My Father, Mark Twain by Clara Clemens

Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we’d all have frozen to death. — quoted in Mark Twain and I, Opie Read

The captain had been telling how, in one of his Arctic voyages, it was so cold that the mate’s shadow froze fast to the deck and had to be ripped loose by main strength. And even then he got only about two-thirds of it back. — Following the Equator


Mark Twain Quotations, Newspaper Collections, & Related Resources

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