Homework Help

Mark Twain's house has something you don't often see-a fireplace in the dining room with a window built in above it. In fact, the chimney rising above the fireplace was "divided" to make room for the window. Along with this unique feature there's an unconfirmed story about it and Twain: As he at the head of the table at dinner he loved to watch the snow seemingly "falling toward" the blazing fire.

There is a point to telling you this story that is relevant to research, but first:

Here at the Mark Twain House, we want to help you learn more about our favorite author. So, we're making it easy for you.

The reading list below and the Internet links provided will help you get started. Many of the books listed can be found in our shop. But be sure to check out our suggested reading list, links to other Twain sites and information about Samuel L. Clemens (yes, that was his real name) and his family.

And be careful! As your teacher must have warned you, the Internet is not always a reliable source. The links we provide have been tested and vetted, and we use many of them all the time ourselves, but there's a lot of wrong information about Mark Twain. For instance, the fireplace story - it doesn't have any real source, so we shouldn't even be telling it to you! But we know you're too smart to use it in a term paper.

(By the way, if you do find a reliable source for the story, we'll give you a surprise gift. It's a nice story and we'd like to know where it came from!)

Adults and Older Students


Rasmussen, Kent R. Mark Twain A – Z. Oxford University Press, 1995.

How to Write About Mark Twain. Bloom’s Literary Criticism, 2008.

The Quotable Mark Twain: His Essential Aphorisms, Witticisms, & Concise Opinions. McGraw Hill, 1998.

Powers, Ron. Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain. Da Capo Press, 1999.

Mark Twain – A Life. Free Press, 2005.

Kaplan, Justin. Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography. Simon & Schuster, 1966.

Hearn, Michael Patrick. The Annotated Huckleberry Finn. W. W. Norton & Co., 2001.

Ryan, Ann, Joseph McCullough (ed.). Cosmopolitan Twain. University of Missouri Press, 2008.

Michelson, Bruce. Printer’s Devil: Mark Twain and the American Publishing Revolution. University of California Press, 2006.

Courtney, Steve. Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain’s Closest Friend. University of Georgia Press, 2008.

Leonard, James S., Thomas Tenney, and Thadious Davis (ed.). Satire or Evasion? Black Perspectives on Huckleberry Finn. Duke University Press, 1992.

Bird, John. Mark Twain and Metaphor. University of Missouri Press, 2007.

Quirk, Tom. Mark Twain and Human Nature. University of Missouri Press, 2007.

Lystra, Karen. Dangerous Intimacy. University of California Press, 2004.

Kiskis, Michael. Mark Twain’s Own Autobiography. University of Wisconsin Press, 1990.

Kaplan, Fred. The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography. Doubleday, 2003.

Fishkin, Shelley Fisher. Lighting Out for the Territories – Reflections on Mark Twain and American Culture. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Camfield, Gregg. The Oxford Companion to Mark Twain. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Hoffman, Andrew. Inventing Mark Twain. Phoenix Giant, 1997.

Harris, Susan. The Courtship of Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Railton, Stephen. Mark Twain- A Short Introduction. Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Willis, Resa. Mark and Livy. Routledge, 2004.

Ward, Geoffrey C., Duncan, Dayton and Burns, Ken. Mark Twain: An Illustrated Biography. Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.

Meltzer, Milton. Mark Twain Himself: A Pictorial Biography. Bonanza Books, 1960.

Dempsey, Terrell. Searching for Jim: Slavery in Sam Clemens’s World. University of Missouri Press, 2003.

Chadwick, Jocelyn. The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn. University of Mississippi Press, 1998.

Cooper, Robert. Around the World with Mark Twain. Arcade Publishing, 2000.

The Dangerous Mind of Mark Twain. Time: Annual Making of America Issue. July 14, 2008.

Kerley, Barbara. The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy). Scholastic Press, 2010.

For Younger Readers

Rasmussen, Kent R. Mark Twain and His Times: 21 Activities for Kids. Chicago Review Press, 2004.

Twain’s World. Cobblestone (magazine). May/June, 2009.

Camfield, Gregg. Mark Twain: Stories for Young People. Sterling Publishing Co., 2005.

Aller, Susan Biven. Mark Twain. Just the Facts Biographies, Lerner Publications Co., 2006.

Prince, April Jones. Who Was Mark Twain? Grosset & Dunlap, 2004.

Jarnow, Jesse. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Race in America. Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2004.

Anderson, William. River Boy: The Story of Mark Twain. Harper Collins Publishers, 2003.


Useful Websites for Research

TwainQuotes.com | view site

Mark Twain Papers & Project | view site

Mark Twain and His Times | view site

The Online Literature Library | view site

Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum | view site

PBS Mark Twain – A Film by Ken Burns | view site

Center for Mark Twain Studies, Elmira College | view site


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