Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 - April 21, 1910), well known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. Twain is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), which has been called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). He is extensively quoted. Twain was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.
Twain was very popular, and his keen wit and incisive satire earned praise from critics and peers. Upon his death he was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age", and William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature".
Twain was the sixth of seven children. Only three of his siblings survived childhood: his brother Orion (July 17, 1825 - December 11, 1897); Henry, who died in a riverboat explosion (July 13, 1838 - June 21, 1858); and Pamela (September 19, 1827 - August 31, 1904). His sister Margaret (May 31, 1830 - August 17, 1839) died when Twain was three years old, and his brother Benjamin (June 8, 1832 - May 12, 1842) died three years later. Another brother, Pleasant (1828-1829), died at the age of six months. Twain was born two weeks after the closest approach to Earth of Halley's Comet.
In 1909, Twain is quoted as saying:
"I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'"
His prediction was accurate - Twain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, in Redding, Connecticut, one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth.