Roughing It Article

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Roughing It
Roughing It, p. 001.jpg
Title page from first edition
Author Mark Twain
Country United States
Language English
Genre Travel literature
Publisher American Publishing Company
Publication date
1872 [1]
Media type Print
Pages 608 (including title page)
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 by Mark Twain. It was written in 1870–71 and published in 1872, [2] [3] as a prequel to his first travel book The Innocents Abroad (1869).

The book 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. [4]


Various sections of Roughing It were borrowed by television series such as Bonanza. [5] In 1960, an hour-long adaptation was broadcast on NBC starring Andrew Prine and James Daly. [5]

A four-hour 2002 mini-series adaptation was broadcast on Hallmark Channel. Directed by Charles Martin Smith; it starred James Garner as an elderly Samuel Clemens and Robin Dunne as a young Clemens. [5]


  1. ^ Facsimile of the original 1st edition.
  2. ^ "Mark Twain's Most Famous Books". The Mark Twain House & Museum. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  3. ^ Kaplan, Justin (1966). Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography. New York: Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  4. ^ "To the Moon transcript". NOVA. PBS. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Rasmussen, Kent R. (1995). Critical Companion to Mark Twain. New York, NY: Facts on File, Inc. p. 444. Retrieved 20 May 2017.

External links