Celebrating Mark Twain's Centennial

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Library of Congress

This week marks the centennial of Mark Twain's death. Over the last hundred years, Twain has remained a literary icon, and his novels, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, perennials of the American cannon. A master of short stories, as well, he originally published a number of them in The Atlantic.


Even before he started writing with us, Twain had a close friendship with The Atlantic's editor, William Dean Howells. The two met after Howells wrote a favorable review of Twain's first novel, Innocents Abroad, which impressed Twain so much that he took it upon him to introduce himself to the editor.

Twain's first story in The Atlantic, "A True Story, Repeated Word for Word As I Heard It," was published in 1874. He would go on to run other pieces in the magazine, including this unforgettable description of his wife talking on a novel and strange communications device -- the telephone.
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