How Bermuda Became Mark Twain's Island Muse

Erdinch Yigitce

The seminal 19th century American writer of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain was so enchanted by the small Caribbean island of Bermuda, that it became a source of inspiration for the author during his visits from 1867 up until his death in 1910.

The early twilight of a Sunday evening in Hamilton, Bermuda, is an alluring time. There is just enough of whispering breeze, fragrance of flowers, and sense of repose to raise one’s thoughts heavenward; and just enough amateur piano music to keep him reminded of the other place. — Mark Twain: Notes on an Idle Excursion

A.F.Bradley/WikiCommons

Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida 1835, was one of the island’s most famous visitors, and was known to have spent 187 days in Bermuda between 1867 and 1910. Impressed by the quaint, unhurried pace of life, he is noted as being taken aback by the ‘peaceful serenities and its incomparable climate’, where there was ‘no rush, no hurry, no money-getting frenzy, no complaining, no fussing and quarreling…hardly a dog, seldom a cat…nobody drunk.’ Arriving on the S.S. Quaker City, he first visited the island as a young man in 1867, about which he wittily remarked, ‘Bermuda was a paradise but one had to go through hell to get there.’ The visit would also inspire his travel book The Innocents Abroad (1869), and in 1877, he wrote further about his troubles in the the essay ‘Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion’ for The Atlantic.
He would go on to visit Bermuda many times throughout his life, and regarded it as his second home. During his visits, Twain was known to sojourn with political dignitaries, and fellow American writers, including future president of the United States Woodrow Wilson. Along with Woodrow and other Bermudians, Twain would go on to lobby against the use of automobiles on the island to preserve the tranquility of the island. He spent many of his last months in Bermuda before his death at the age of 74, but has left a lasting impression on the country. Memorials to Twain in Bermuda include a bust in Bermudiana Road. An unbinding love for the island, he was famously reportedly to have said before his death “You can go to Heaven if you like. I’ll stay right here in Bermuda’.

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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

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Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

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