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Mark TwainPreacher, Prophet, and Social Philosopher$
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Gary Scott Smith

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780192894922

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780192894922.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

The 1860s

The 1860s

Journalism, a Pilgrimage, and Courtship

(p.33) 3 The 1860s
Mark Twain

Gary Scott Smith

Oxford University Press

During the 1860s, Twain worked as a journalist in Virginia City, Nevada, and San Francisco and traveled to Europe and the Middle East (most notably Palestine) on an excursion with a group of Americans, which enabled him to write his best-selling Innocents Abroad. Twain met Olivia (Livy) Langdon through her brother, a fellow traveler. His courtship of the religiously devout Livy prompted Twain to reassess his relationship with God and his understanding of Christianity, prayer, and Providence and to declare himself to be a Christian. During this decade, Twain developed friendships with several ministers, battled depression, and struggled to determine his vocation. He also strove to adopt Eastern mores and conventional ethical practices and reinvent himself as a Christian husband who could provide financial security and spiritual guidance for his family. Scholars debate whether his conversion was genuine, self-deluded, or fabricated to please his future wife and her parents.

Keywords:   Olivia Langdon, Innocents Abroad, prayer, Providence, Congregationalism, excursion

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