Title page from first edition
|Publisher||American Publishing Company|
|Preceded by||The Innocents Abroad (1869)|
|Followed by||The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (1873)|
Roughing It is a book of semi-autobiographical travel literature written by American humorist Mark Twain. He wrote it during 1870–71 and published in 1872, as a prequel to his first book The Innocents Abroad (1869). This book tells of Twain's adventures prior to his pleasure cruise related in Innocents Abroad.
Roughing It follows the travels of young Mark Twain through the Wild West during the years 1861–1867. After a brief stint as a Confederate cavalry militiaman (not included in the account), he joined his brother Orion Clemens, who had been appointed Secretary of the Nevada Territory, on a stagecoach journey west. Twain consulted his brother's diary to refresh his memory and borrowed heavily from his active imagination for many stories in the book.
Roughing It illustrates many of Twain's early adventures, including a visit to Salt Lake City, gold and silver prospecting, real-estate speculation, a journey to the Kingdom of Hawaii, and his beginnings as a writer. This memoir provides examples of Twain's rough-hewn humor, which would become a staple of his writing in such later books as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889).
In popular culture
U.S. astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell read Roughing It aloud to pass the time aboard NASA's Gemini VII, a 14-day-long Earth orbital mission in December 1965. Borman recalls reading the book during an on-camera interview in the PBS-TV (USA) television program Nova: To the Moon (1999).
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