Mark Twain And Olivia Langdon Essay Research

Mark Twain And Olivia Langdon Essay, Research Paper

Samuel Clemens and Olivia Langdon

Have you ever wondered what makes a successful relationship and marriage? Samuel Clemens and Olivia Langdon had a successful, long-lasting relationship. The couple?s success accounts for their love and completion in marriage. The long-lasting relationship that existed between Mark Twain and Olivia Langdon is due to the fact that they were both truly in love with each other.

Olivia Langdon was born in 1835 and died in 1904. She had four children. Her and Samuel Clemens were married for thirty years. Before their marriage, Olivia lived in Elmira New York with her wealthy, intellectual family. She was frail in health all her life. Her frailty was a result of a tragic ice skating accident. A preacher had visited her and cured her by the laying of his hands. The once paralyzed girl was now up and walking. Throughout her life Olivia was surrounded by, ?women who were dynamic intelligent, unapologetic, as well as committed feminists? (Trombley 131). Olivia was committed to fighting for women?s rights, and stood up for her very opinionated beliefs. Olivia at the age of twenty-three was a model of beauty, elegance, and delicacy. Delicacy for those times was the sign of inward beauty. Back then it was considered disgusting for a woman to be extremely robust in health. Although she was very independent, Olivia?s frailty showed her need for masculine protection. Her family had sheltered her all of her life. The Langdon?s were extremely affectionate. They were always kissing and making some sort of physical contact with her. When Olivia first met Samuel Clemens, she was not impressed at all. She had admired him for his intellect and reputation as a writer. Her main concerns at there meeting time were certainly none of marriage.

Mark Twain was one of the famous American authors. He was born in the year 1835 in Florida, Missouri. His real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. His birthplace was a small town that was sufficient material for a budding writer. His father died during the year 1847 and shortly after the death of his father his went for schooling to become a printer’s apprentice. Between 1853 and 1857 he worked as a journeyman printer. A series of sketches, “The Snodgrass Letters,” signed Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, were published in the Keokuk Post in 1856 and 1857. These showed that Clemens, like many other humorists of the 1850s, was fond of using misspellings, and puns for humorous effects. The trip during which he wrote these letters eventually carried him to the Mississippi River.

There he took a downstream boat, apparently with the intention of going to South America to seek his fortune. During the trip, however, he recalled boyhood memories of the glamour of river life and arranged to become a pilot’s apprentice under Horace Bixby. He won his license in due time and served as a pilot until, in 1861, the Civil War interrupted river traffic. While a steamboat man, he furthered his literary development by writing occasional skits for newspapers. After serving briefly in the Confederate army, he journeyed overland to Carson City, Nevada, with his brother Orion, who had a political appointment in the territorial government.

In Nevada Clemens was caught up for a time in the speculative fever of the mining country; his letters home to Olivia were full of accounts of investments and prospecting trips. When none of his ventures turned out well, he became a reporter on the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, beginning in 1862. It was while working on this paper that he really found himself as a humorist, realizing that his sporadic journalistic activities had been no more than amateur exercises preparing him for real achievements. In 1863, while reporting on meetings of the Nevada legislature, he first used the pseudonym Mark Twain, derived from a call by Mississippi boatmen sounding the depth of the river. In 1864 he went to San Francisco, where he worked for several newspapers. A few of his sketches were reprinted in eastern publications. One story, “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog,” published in the New York Saturday Press, November 18, 1865, was a national sensation. The next year a trip to the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands yielded not only a series of humorous travel letters to the Sacramento Union, but also a serious article published in Harper’s Magazine. Furthermore, upon returning from this voyage, he launched a career on the West Coast as a humorous lecturer that continued until 1906.

In 1866, Twain became a traveling correspondent of the Alta California. A number of letters he wrote for that newspaper told the details of a journey eastward by boat; another series of letters wrote to Olivia told of his visits to New York and the Middle West in 1867. ?A letter of June 23 told of his spending a night in a station house in New York, charged with disorderly conduct. Others told of visits to art galleries, theaters, museums, and churches in New York and of brief stays with his family?(Willis 127). The year 1867 saw the publication of Mark Twain’s first book, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveros County, a collection of sketches. It was his first appearance as a humorous lecturer in the East. The year was also notable for his trip to the Holy Land with an excursion party, reported in letters published in the Alta California and the New York Tribune. These letters, collected and revised, were published as the volume Innocents Abroad (1869), a book that secured his fame as a humorist. Despite the remarkable financial success of these books, Clemens found himself bankrupt by 1894. ?He had lived lavishly and had made a number of disastrous investments. Declared insolvent, Clemens nevertheless promised to pay his creditors dollar for dollar?(Harris 134). A lecture tour around the world and the publication of two books, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896) and Following the Equator (1897), helped to fulfill his promise. His bankruptcy, however, and the death of his daughter Susan in 1896 and his wife in 1904 did much to develop Twain’s pessimism, which had found some expression as early as 1883 but which grew increasingly bitter with the passing years.

Although Clemens was extremely busy with his career as a writer, he still managed to make time for Olivia. Their meeting was at the Langdon?s home in 1867. When Samuel Clemens met Olivia on December 31, 1867, he met a woman who was far more educated than he was. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship for life. ?Clemens did not want a stereotypical women of his times- subservient, domestic, etc. This position revealed itself in Clemens asking her to proof reed and edit all his manuscripts?(Applebaum 2). Olivia was not a domestic house wife and was Twains perfect match.

The couple was married on February 2, in Elmira, New York. The two got married because of their love for each other. Their success lasted for thirty years. Their marriage ended when Olivia died in 1904.

Samuel Clemens and Olivia Langdon had a successful relationship. Samuel loved to write books and stories, and Olivia would edit and revise them for Samuel. They both enjoyed creating some of the world?s most famous literature together. Clemens realized more fully than ever that in his heart there was room for only one woman in the entire world: Olivia Langdon or Livy as they all called her. ?Filling both romantic and reformist areas of Clemens life, her influence can be seen fairly easily in all these characters: Aunt Polly, Widow Douglas, Miss Watson, Aunt Sally, Becky, Sandy, and Roxy? (Applebaum1). Olivia was a great influence in Clemens work. The two would write letters back and forth when Twain had gone away on trips. Their relationship started only as a friendship. However, after about a year and a half of writing letters back and forth they were finally joined in unison by marriage on February 2, 1870. They had a successful relationship and loved each other throughout their lives trials and tribulations. Twain and Olivia were lovers to be remembered.

The two lovers, Samuel Clemens and Olivia Langdon, were ones who more remembered as individuals rather than a married couple. The research has proven that they were truly in love with each other. They should have been recognized more as a couple than as individual writers. Their lives were happily lived, and completed with each other in marriage.


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