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A stirring account of America's vanished past The book that earned Mark Twain his first recognition as a serious writer Discover the magic of life on the Mississippi At once a romantic history of a mighty river an autobiographical account of Mark Twain's early steamboat days and a storehouse of humorous anecdotes and sketches Life on the Mississippi is the raw material from which Twain wrote his finest novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Lincoln of our literature William Dean Howells

10 thoughts on “Life on the Mississippi

  1. says:

    I first read this book fifty years ago when I was in high school and I recalled Twain's account of his days as a Mississippi steamboat pilot's apprentice as a work of great humor and style with uintessentially American themes eual in power to Huckleberry Finn A recent re reading has left me both gratified and disappointed gratified because Twain's history and description of the ever changing Mississippi and his account of his life as a young river pilot are just good as I remembered them but disappointed because this account occupies only the first third of the book The other two thirds has moments of eual power Twain's account of his return to his boyhood home Hannibal for example but most of it is a casually organized travelogue of a trip up the Mississippi by the fifty year old Twain interrupted by random anecdotes and tall tales This second two thirds is uneven but entertaining full of characteristic Twain humor; it is as good as Roughing It a book I like and admire Nevertheless it nowhere euals the power of the first hundred pages And a book the ends worse than it began is always a disappointment

  2. says:

    Life on the Mississippi Mark Twain Life on the Mississippi 1883 is a memoir by Mark Twain of his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War and also a travel book recounting his trip along the Mississippi River from St Louis to New Orleans many years after the War The book begins with a brief history of the river as reported by Europeans and Americans beginning with the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1542 It continues with anecdotes of Twain's training as a steamboat pilot as the 'cub' apprentice of an experienced pilot Horace E Bixby He describes with great affection the science of navigating the ever changing Mississippi River in a section that was first published in 1876 entitled Old Times on the Mississippi Although Twain was actually 21 when he began his training he uses artistic license to make himself seem somewhat younger referring to himself as a fledgling and a boy who ran away from home to seek his fortune on the river and playing up his own callowness and naivete In the second half Twain narrates his trip many years later on a steamboat from St Louis to New Orleans He describes the competition from railroads and the new large cities and adds his observations on greed gullibility tragedy and bad architecture He also tells some stories that are most likely tall talesعنوانها زندگی بر روی می سی سی پی؛ زندگی روی میسی سی پی؛ نویسنده مارک تواین؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش ماه فوریه سال 1982 میلادیعنوان زندگی بر روی می سی سی پی؛ نویسنده مارک تواین؛ مترجم ابوالقاسم حالت؛ چاپ اول در 574 ص؛ آخرین چاپ، امیرکبیر، 1380؛ در 596 ص؛ شابک 9643030407؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا سده 19 معنوان زندگی روی میسی سی پی؛ نویسنده مارک تواین؛ مترجم کیومرث پارسای؛ تهران، ناژ، 1390؛ در 624 ض؛ شابک 9789649109784؛بخشی از زندگی «مارک تواین» است، و داستانهایش بسیار شوخ و خنده دار هستند زندگی بر روی میسیسیپی در حقیقت، بخشی از زندگی نویسنده ی اثر است ایشان در این کتاب داستان، حکایت، لطیفه و نکته های تازه، خنده دار و بانمک آورده اند، که خوانشگر در پایان کتاب شگفت زده، از خویش میپرسد آیا نویسنده قصد داشته شرحی از زندگی در کناره ی آن رودخانه ی شگفت به دست دهد، یا آن که داستان پردازی خود را از مسائل انسانی به نمایش بگذارد؟؛ ا شربیانی

  3. says:

    Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain was first published in 1883 and describes his apprenticeship and success as a Mississippi River pilot and then returning to the river than twenty years later At its heart this is a travel book but really than that this is a portrait of America in the 19th century Told with Twain’s inimitable wit and charm this contains histrionic and speculative facts half truths wild exaggerations and tall tales Written by anyone else this would have been unsuccessful Twain makes it thoroughly enjoyableI have wanted to read Life on the Mississippi for over twenty years Once upon a time I was a young Coast Guardsman assigned to work on the Mississippi River aboard a buoy tender a vessel tasked with maintaining aids to navigation on the navigable interior waterways Our home station was Hickman Kentucky a once proud but antiuated river town in extreme southwestern Kentucky I recall cornfields and the river and little else Twain writing about the river over a hundred years earlier than when I was there described St Louis Cape Girardeau MO Cairo Il New Madrid and Hickman KY he called it a pretty little town – and even the aids to navigations on the river He saw the river before and after the advent of the aids to navigation and he remarked that the buoy and lights system diminished the romance of being a pilot

  4. says:

    So often my reading seems to unintentionally reflect upon itself I’ve been doing a very slow read of the Michael Slater biography of Dickens and had finished the account of his first American tour when I started this after a friend asked me to read it with her Almost immediately I encountered a mention of Dickens and then references to two earlier British travel writers Captain Marryat and Captain Basil Hall Dickens read the works of the two captains in preparation for his own trip to the US And Mark Twain must’ve read the three in preparation for this work So perhaps that’s why I thought of calling my review A Tale of Two Halves certainly this holds “the best of times” and “the worst of times” for Twain encompassing both personal triumph though spoken of self deprecatingly and personal tragedyIn the book’s first half Twain relates an entertaining history of the river; his love for the river starting from his time as a young boy in Hannibal Missouri; and most famously his experiences as a very young man as a cub pilot on a steamboat In the second half he describes his return to the river after the war again on a steamboat but as a passenger; the changes to the steamboat industry; and the towns and cities he passes and visits on the river from St Louis to New Orleans to Minneapolis including a stop in Hannibal Interspersed are facts tales anecdotes and legends told with hyperbole humor wit and irony— in short everything we’ve come to associate with Mark Twain I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by several beautiful though never sentimental passagesAs I wrote in a comment to a friend and thank you to another friend for telling me how much he liked the comment It's a meandering read but that's ok it's like a river

  5. says:

    Back in the day before pesky child labour laws stole the liberty of a hard dreaming child to go forth and make their way in the world running the risk of boiler explosions sinking paddle steamers and night time collisions Young Samuel Clemens worked his way up to the dizzying heights of river pilot stole another pilot's nom de plume Mark Twain was a depth reading to help the pilot not to run the ship aground and so was well on his way to becoming a writerHe reflects at one a moment when a traveller looks out over the Mississippi at night and drinks in the romance of the scene contrasted with how Twain as a trainee river pilot sees the river in his vision every branch on the water to the level of the river is something to be read in order to steer the boat safely when he started the river was a river after learning the river was not a river later he understood again that the river was a river

  6. says:

    And mind you emotions are among the toughest things in the world to manufacture out of whole cloth; it is easier to manufacture seven facts than one emotion This is an awkward book to review since it consists of so many varied sections Yet it can be neatly divided between the first third and the remaining portion After a few brief chapters about the mighty river and its history the beginning section focuses on Twain’s young days as a steersman aboard Mississippi River steamboats These are easily the best pages As evinced by the Huckleberry Finn stories Twain had a marvelous way of writing from a child’s perspective naively learning to navigate the world What is Twain does an excellent job in illustrating the extensive knowledge necessary to effectively pilot a steamboat—memorizing hundreds of landmarks learning how to gauge speed and depth and dealing with difficult coworkersThe second section is a meandering account of a voyage he took two decades after leaving the steamboat business when he was an accomplished author At this point he was already so famous he had to adopt a pseudonym Here he pauses so often to lose himself in tributary wanderings that the narrative breaks down into a vaguely connected series of anecdotes most of which seem obviously inflated or simply fictional Though there is much to amuse in this section I found myself growing increasingly restless and bored as I continued on eager for the end Though I did not dislike this book as much as I did A Connecticut Yankee I nevertheless felt that the joke had gone stale and that Twain was merely filling up spaceMy reactions to Twain tend to shift violently Again in the beginning section of this work when he is writing from the perspective of his younger self his writing is energetic and witty and wide eyed But when he dons the cap of a raconteur I tend to find his stories mechanical and dull His account of the Pilots’ Association is an excellent example of this—proceeding in predictable steps to the inevitable conclusion And when he shifts away from humor the results can be pretty grim His flat footed tall tale of the man who sought revenge for his murdered family—a mix of the ghoulish and the sentimental—is an excellent example of thisEven with these faults and lapses this book is an unforgettable portrait of a time and place that are gone for good written by an indefatigably mordant pen

  7. says:

    Twain on the river as a kid Twain back on the river again as a sneaky pete writer I wanted to like this book which is why I suppose I hung in for 350 odd pages before setting it aside The book is entertaining intermittantly and occasionally sharp and funny but it meanders I should probably have my keyboard revoked for using the word 'meander' in a review about a book about a river but clearly I can't help myself Seriously tho Twain needed an editor with a heavy hand for this one

  8. says:

    Life on the Mississippi by Mark TwainI'm so very glad I read this I've been meaning to read by Twain for decades of course but my move to Missouri motivated me enough to finally choose this one I thought it might be a bit of a task leavened by some history and some wit It was the reverse Lots of wit lots of history very accessible prose only a few bits of slang were unfamiliar and only a few sentences were structured in such a way that I had trouble following them and almost no aspects of the onerous a'tallI marked far too many passages as you see below But there were lots that I was tempted to mark I recommend you read this yourself and find your own favorite bits“For instance when the Missisippi was first seen by a white man Margaret of Navarre was writing the “Heptamaron” and some religious books the first survives the others are forgotten wit and indelicacy being sometimes better literature preservers than holiness”“La Salle set up a cross with the arms of France on it and took possession of the whole country for the king—the cool fashion of the time—while the priest spiously consecrated the robbery with a hymn”“Between La Salle's opening of the river and the time when it begun to be well used seven sovereigns had occupied the throne of England Truly there were snails in those days”On the steamboats arriving in town “ great volumes of the blackest smoke are rolling and tumbling out of the chimneys—a husbanded grandeur created with a bit of pitch pine”“There is something fascinating about science One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact”I need to learn about Murel of Murel's Gang an evil genius who should be infamous than he is given Clemens' lurid but calmly told accountMr H warns Clemens of another man “I will not deceive you;he told me such a monstrous lie once that it swelled my left ear up and spread it around so that I was not actually able to see around it”A survivor of the siege of Vicksburg reveals that even the kinds of stress that the civilians there underwent became effectively commonplace after those several weeks but does also say “Mule meat? No we only got down to that the last day or two Of course it was good; anything is good when you are starving”“ a general conversation which began with talk about horses drifted into talk about astronomy then into talk about the lynching about the gamblers in Vicksburg half a century ago then into talk about dreams and superstitions; and ended after midnight in a dispute over free trade and protection“I hope to be cremated I made that remark to my pastor once who said with what he seemed to think was an impressive manner ”I wouldn't worry about that if I had your chances” Much he knew about it—the family also opposed to it”I want to adopt the New Orleans custom of lagniappe as in “Give me something for lagniappe”pronounced 'lanny yap' and meaning something akin to baker's dozen“Then comes Sir Walter Scott with his enchantments and by his single might checks this wave of progress and even turns it back; sets the world in love with dreams and phantoms; with decayed and swinish forms of religion; with decayed and degraded systems of government; with the sillinesses and emptynesses sham grandeurs sham gauds and sham chivalries of a brainless and worthless long vanished society He did measureless harm real and lasting harm perhaps than any other individual that ever wrote”“A curious exemplification of the power of a single book for good or harm is shown in the effects wrought by Don uixote and those wrought by Ivanhoe The first swept the world's admiration for the mediaeval chivalry silliness out of existence; and the other restored it”He noted the effect of the new steamboats' feature on wildlife at night as they “suddenly inundated the trees with the intense sunburst of the electric light a certain curious effect was always produced hundreds of birds flocked instantly out from the masses of shining green foliage and went careering hither and thither through the white rays and often a song bird turned up and fell to singing We judged that they mistoook this superb artificial day for the genuine article”Clemens admired manufactured ice “These big blocks were hard solid and crystal clear In certain of them big bouuets of fresh and brilliant tropical flowers had been frozen in; in others beautiful silken clad French dolls and other pretty objects These blocks were to be set on end in a platter in the center of dinner tables to cool the tropical air; and also to be ornamental for the flowers and things imprisoned in them could be seen as through plate glass”I highly recommend it Not as much as I recommend the audiobook of Huck Finn as narrated by Patrick Fraley but than I recommend Roughing It I will continue to read Twain; maybe The Prince and the Pauper or The Innocents Abroad next

  9. says:

    Life on the Mississippi is like a time capsule as Twain revisits many of his earlier haunts and remarks on how the towns have changed The book is eual parts travelogue history nostalgia and yarnsI really love this book even though it was written some 130 years agoTwain exhibits his characteristic wit throughout the book but he is often wistful I feel that Twain exhibits a great intuition for when his audience might be getting bored with the subject at hand and he is able to uickly wrap it up and advance the story forward I am not a fan of Twain novels such as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court that may focus heavily on comedy and the absurd This type of humor seems very dated in retrospect But this book Life on the Mississippi and also The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are some of the best books ever written The sentimentality and humanity still hold up well upon re reading

  10. says:

    What I wish Oh to live my life as a steamboat captain on the Mississippi in the nineteenth century of the year of our Lord How I'm living Alas to have been born in Kentucky in the 1980sWIW To float down the Mississippi smoking a corn cob pipe piratical unruly and barbarousHIL Sitting at a desk cultivating carpal tunnel as a professional button pusher and microwaving leftovers for lunchWIW To take my turn at the helm dodging rocks and aiming for smaller crafts yelling out uarter twain half twain uarter less ta reeHIL Still sitting at my desk still pressing buttons yelling out grrrrr you stupid computer why are you so slow