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Introduction to The Jumping Frog from Sketches, New and Old

- By Mark Twain
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Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910),[1] known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was lauded as the "greatest humorist the United States has produced,"[2] and William Faulkner called him "the father of American literature".[3] His novels include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884),[4] the latter often called "The Great American Novel". Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, which later provided the setting for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. He served an apprenticeship with a printer and then worked as a typesetter, contributing articles to the newspaper of his older brother Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.[5] His humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", was published in 1865, based on a story that he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention and was even translated into French.[6] His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.
1. Even a criminal has a right to fair treatment, so I, who have done no harm, should have the
privilege of defending myself. I just read an article in a French magazine, in which the author
criticizes some “American Humorists”. I am one of those humorists, so I am making a complaint.
2. This gentleman’s article is a good one, as articles go in French. (They always tangle up everything
so that when you start into a sentence you never know whether you are going to come out
alive or not!) It is a very good article, and the writer says all manner of kind things about me. I
thank him with all my heart. But, then why should he go and spoil all his praise?
3. What I mean is this: he says my Jumping Frog is a funny story, but still, he can’t see why it should
ever make anyone roll on the floor with laughter. Then, he translates it into French in order to
prove to his nation that there is nothing so very funny about it. There is where my complaint lies.
He has not translated it at all. He has simply mixed it all up; it is no more like The Jumping Frog
when he gets through with it than I am like the man in the moon.
4. But my just saying so is not proof. So I print here the French version, that all may see that I do
not speak falsely. Also, so those who don’t know French may understand my pain, I have retranslated
it back into English.
5. And to tell the truth, I have worn myself out at it. I have hardly rested from my work during five
days and nights. I cannot speak the French language, but I can translate very well, though not fast.
6. I ask the reader to run his eye over the original English version of the Jumping Frog, and then
read the French or my re-translation. Kindly take notice of how the Frenchman has messed up the grammar. I think it is the worst I ever saw, and yet the French are called a polished nation. If I had
a boy that put sentences together as they do, I would polish him, too

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Questions and Answers Introduction to The Jumping Frog from Sketches, New and Old

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Word Lists:

Criticize : indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way

Complaint : a statement that a situation is unsatisfactory or unacceptable

Translate : express the sense of (words or text) in another language

Grammar : the whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general, usually taken as consisting of syntax and morphology (including inflections) and sometimes also phonology and semantics.

Version : a particular form of something differing in certain respects from an earlier form or other forms of the same type of thing

Tangle : twist together into a confused mass

Sentence : a set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate, conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command, and consisting of a main clause and sometimes one or more subordinate clauses.

Criminal : a person who has committed a crime

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Rating: A

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