My First Literary Venture
My First Literary Venture is a short, fictional, autobiographical story written by Mark Twain. It can be found in the anthology Sketching Old and New, and has a thirteen year old Mark Twain acting in a manner that is not all that different from the way that Mark Twain always acted.
The story begins by explaining how it is that a thirteen year old was put in charge of the newspaper. The story is basically that his uncle ran the paper but had to leave town for a week and did not want to have it simply left unattended. I suppose his thought was probably that there was not all that much that could really go wrong in a week even if it was done badly. In this he underestimated his Nephew.The entire paper it seemed was written in that way and oddly enough people were not as taken by it as Mark Twain himself was. Or at least that was what it seemed as his uncle arrived to discover all sorts of people angry at him, but as you might expect the truth is that while people may not have loved the things written about them everyone wanted to see what was written about the other people and so the subscriptions had actually went up.
But while setting up the piece I was suddenly riven from head to heel by what I regarded as a perfect thunderbolt of humor, and I compressed it into a snappy footnote at the bottom—thus: “We will let this thing pass, just this once; but we wish Mr. J. Gordon Runnels to understand distinctly that we have a character to sustain, and from this time forth when he wants to commune with his friends in h—l, he must select some other medium than the columns of this journal!”
His clear, distinct, resolute voice is filled with a liveliness... in a reading to be enjoyed by all ages." —VOYA, February 2004
- My First Literary Venture