Mark Twain in San Francisco and the Reinvention of American Literature

Mark Twain arrived in San Francisco in 1863, fleeing the draft and seeking adventure. In California he found that the economy booming, newspapers and magazines thriving, and promise of the transcontinental railroad soon to become a reality. Ben Tarnoff tells how Twain connected with the city’s Bohemian writers. But as these San Francisco writers were drawing attention from eastern taste makers such as the Atlantic Monthly, Twain was floundering, questioning whether he should be a writer at all. Tarnoff is the author of The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature.