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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Shelley Fisher Fishkin <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 16 Dec 1999 18:30:59 -0600
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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For those Twainiacs still not sure about whether it's worth their while to
make the seven-block trek in the cold from the Hyatt to Palmer House at MLA
on December 28th for the Mark Twain Circle reception, I thought I'd share a
little more of what's in store....

On November 13,  1879 Palmer House was the scene of a grand banquet in
honor of General Grant, who had just returned from a world tour.  Twain was
invited to attend "The Thirteenth Annual Banquet of the Society of the Army
of Tennessee"  and agreed to come. As Albert Bigelow Paine put it, "it
seemed to him that there was something strikingly picturesque in the idea
of a Confederate soldier who had been chased for a fortnight in the rain
through Ralls and Monroe counties, Missouri, now being invited to come and
give welcome home to his old imaginary pursuer."  The six hundred guests at
that dinner included, in addition to Twain and Grant,  Generals Sherman,
Sheridan, Logan, Vilas, Woodford and Pope. Paine wrote, "Chicago has never
known a greater event than that dinner..."

I am pleased to announce that the Palmer House plans to mount a special
display  for the Mark Twain Circle in the Twain Circle Suite on the evening
of December 28th: they will recreate the thirteen-piece(!)  place setting
to which  each guest at that elaborate dinner sat down, using the Palmer
original antique china and silver. The sample place setting will also
include the silver
water pitcher that Twain himself used at that dinner.

Everyone who comes to the Twain Circle Suite  on the 28th will be given a
souvenir copy of the original dinner menu--which was decorated with Civil
War scenes and designed to be folded into a miniature tent.

In addition,  the Chef of the Palmer House will be recreating several of
the delicacies on which the assembled dinner guests dined in 1879, using
the traditional Palmer House recipes, and you'll be able to taste them

It was at this dinner that Mark Twain delivered his famous speech, "The
Babies." I have prevailed upon a Twain Circle member internationally
renowned for his engaging platform performances to read a few excerpts from
that speech at this occasion.

Oh yes--and a chorus may perform some of the songs the veterans sang at the
banquet--including "Marching Through Georgia" (I didn't say a *live*

All this, and the chance to hear an update from Marta Werner on the Huck
Finn CD-ROM!

I hope to see many of you at the Palmer House (17 East Monroe St.) on
December 28th from 5:l5-7:l5.

The reception is co-sponsored by the American Humor Studies Association.
The concierge will tell you the room number of the suite.

I am enormously grateful to Mary Frances Madden and Ken Price of Palmer
House for their enthusiastic and energetic assistance in arranging what
promises to be an enjoyable and memorable event.  And I want to thank Kevin
Bochynski for reminding me about where I'd seen that menu....which is what
set all this in motion!

It is not necessary to be registered for MLA to attend. For those of you
going to MLA, however, here's a reminder about the two sessions sponsored
by the Mark Twain Circle:

Monday, December 27th  5:15-6:30 p.m., Columbian Room, Hyatt Regency Hotel
Chair: Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Univ. of Texas, Austin
1. " 'You Could Hear Him in Illinois': Deafness, Laughter and Mark Twain,"
Christopher Krentz, Univ. of Virginia
2. "Concerning the Jews  at One Hundred," Eliza Russi Lowen McGraw,
Vanderbilt University
3. "Following the Equator: Twain's Redescription of Civilization," Bong Eun
Kim, Koisin Univ., Korea
4. "Understanding Mark Twain's Female Adolescents Through the
Philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir," Carla Anderson, Michigan State University

*A sign language interpreter is schedule for this session.

Tuesday, December 28th 3:30-4:45 p.m., Atlanta Room, Hyatt Regency Hotel
Chair: Laura Elise Skandera-Trombley, Coe Coll.
1. "Mutual Influences: Mark Twain's and C.D. Warner's Views of Children in
Their Early Work," Ryuichi Asayama, Soka Univ., Japan
2.  "Back to the Future: Twain, Bellamy, and the Techno-utopian
        Impulse," Joel Dinerstein, Univ. of Texas, Austin
3. "The 'Circus Side' of Twain's 'Object Lesson in Democracy': A
Connecticut Yankee and the Economy of Apocalyptic Spectacle," Charles
Martin, Florida State Univ.
4. "Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson and the Influence of Slave Narratives,"
James O. Brecher, Univ. of South Florida

The Mark Twain Circle/American Humor Studies Association reception will be
right  after this second session.

See you there!

Shelley Fisher Fishkin
President, Mark Twain Circle of America
Professor of American Studies
University of Texas
Austin TX 78712
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