From Whence the Twain?

October 5, 2013 | 1

What inspired Samuel Clemens to change his name to Mark Twain? Was it a Mississippi riverboat captain? Did he earn it by “drinking at a one-bit saloon in Virginia City, Nevada?” Or, as rare book dealer Kevin Mac Donnell now alleges in the new issue of Mark Twain Journal, did the author find his pseudonym in a popular humor journal?

works on special projects for The Millions. He lives in Baltimore and he frequents dive bars. His interests can be followed on his Tumblr, Nick Recommends and Twitter, @nemoran3.

One comment:

  1. Name changing is very common in some cultures, especially for religious reasons. Many people of faith change names to reflect desired virtues, or in honor of prophets and saints. I had a friend tell me that his mother changed his name because he cried too much. She took him to the local priest to ask why he was always crying. He told her to change the child’s name and gave her a name.She changed it and he says he stopped crying and has never cried much since. Mark Twain changed his name and changed his destiny! Gives us all something t think about.

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