Mark Twain in Mauritius
Mark Twain in Mauritius wrote “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and heaven was copied after Mauritius”
This is an often quoted line to convey the amazing beauty of the island of Mauritius. Mark Twain, an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer was in Mauritius on his “Following the Equator” lecture tour. His fascinating account of his tour which he took in 1895-1896. His book is a non-fiction travelogue, an account of his travels which was published in 1897. Full of tales and criticisms of imperialist arrogance, written with Twain’s characteristic wit and enthusiasm for a good story. He tells the experiences of the various accommodations on both ship and ashore, complaining about the bedding on the ships and the noise in the hotel halls of India. He tells of riding an elephant for the first time and of going shark fishing in Australia.
Mark Twain’s real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, he travelled around the world, from Hawaii to Australia, India to South Africa, and, of course, Mauritius. He arrived in Mauritius on 15 April 1896.
He described his visit to Port Louis as “a little town, but with the largest variety of nationalities and complexions we have encountered yet”. This shows the diversity of the island, for which it is so well known.
Mark Twain was born in Florida, Missouri on 30th November 1835 and died on 21st April 1910 in Redding, Connecticut. He published more than 30 books throughout his career, although he is perhaps most well known for his stories The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Twain was 60 and facing bankruptcy, which is why he signed on for the lecture tour. Traveling with his wife and daughter he opened the tour in Cleveland on 15th July 1895, before traveling across the United States and Canada and setting sail on 23rd August from Victoria, B.C., for Australia and then on to New Zealand, India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Mauritius, and South Africa, returning to England in July 1896, after a year’s journey.
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