Today is the anniversary of the birth of Samuel Clemens, more familiarly known as Mark Twain. Born n Florida (MO, US), 30 November 1835, Mr. Twain is widely known for his many writings and, of course, for his comments that are quoted often.
Mr. Clemens wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, arguably the greatest American novel, and I plan to read it soon (probably for the 5th time). I do not buy the argument that the work degrades African Americans; Mr. Clemens use of the vernacular of the time is surely less course and dehumanizing than the use of similar words in contemporary music. He contributed many other wonderful products and it is for this large and deep corpus of work that we celebrate him.
Wikipedia entry for Samuel Clemens. Explore the Mark Twain Papers, download copies of many of his works at text or audio files from Project Guttenburg, and check “Mark Twain in His Times” by Stephen Railton (including Professor Railton’s variation on Mark Twain’s memory game). Barbara Schmidt has a good collection of quotes available. Also, see Joe’s jumps page about Mark Twain.