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"Harris, Susan Kumin" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 5 Dec 2016 14:56:34 +0000
text/plain (141 lines)
In the 1980s Vic struggled to articulate his vision of "genetic criticism," a way to unpack a writer's creative process.  He took as his example Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and in the process took on the Twain establishment of his day.  Vic won, and gave us, in 1991, Writing Huck Finn: Mark Twain's Creative Process, a book that took its place among the revolutionary works of literary and historical methodology of that decade. Throughout it all he remained the gentle, warm-hearted soul we all knew. Hats off to you, Vic!  May you rest in peace and contentment, knowing that we remember how much we owe you.  --susan harris 

Susan K. Harris

From: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Kevin Mac Donnell <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, December 5, 2016 7:54 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Victor A. Doyno, 1937-2016

I first crossed paths with Vic in the early 1990s, probably at an Elmira
Conference. Others have commented on his scholarship and generosity, but I
thought the quote from a former student in his obituary captured him
perfectly--using green instead of red to correct papers so as not to hurt
feelings. Vic was afflicted by Alzheimer's for at least seven years, and as
hard as it is to hear the news of his death, I'm glad he is at peace.

Mac Donnell Rare Books
9307 Glenlake Drive
Austin TX 78730
Member: ABAA, ILAB
You may browse our books at:

-----Original Message-----
From: Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Sent: Sunday, December 04, 2016 10:05 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Victor A. Doyno, 1937-2016

I, too,  am very sorry to hear of Vic Doyno's death. I am so glad that Tayl=
or Roberts had the good judgment to post those important passages from Vic'=
s wonderful book, Mark Twain: Selected Writings of An American Skeptic. It =
was so prescient of Vic back in 1983 to warn us about ascribing Twain's "sc=
athing skepticism and acid pessimism" primarily  to "the many personal trag=
edies of his life." That reductive view of Twain that Vic -- and later Jim =
Zwick --  worked so hard to dispel still needs dispelling all too often. Vi=
c's insistence on Twain's complexity was always bracingly refreshing, compe=
lling, and apt.=20

In addition to being a meticulous scholar who was never satisfied with anyt=
hing less than doing full justice to an incredibly complicated and elusive =
artist, Vic was a mensh.  He was a kind and generous scholar who nurtured t=
he work of younger scholars with encouragement and enthusiasm that knew no =
bounds.  Although I never had the privilege of sitting in his classroom, an=
d interacted with him only at conferences and through sharing our work with=
each other by mail, he was a role model for me of what a scholar could and=
should be.  He had a vast store of knowledge and wisdom that he shared uns=
tintingly with anyone whom he thought would find it useful. He shared his t=
ime with me, he shared his insights, and he shared his conviction that the =
work I was doing mattered. He insisted that anyone working on Twain get thi=
ngs right -- but he took no pleasure from engaging in mean-spirited detours=
, detractions and distractions that can sap   time and humanity from people=
in our line of work.  His work was invaluable.  The kind of informal mento=
ring that he embraced brought out the best in everyone around him. That gen=
erosity of spirit is all too rare. He will be missed.=20

On Dec 4, 2016, at 7:40 PM, Larry Howe <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I'm sorry to hear that Vic Doyno has died.  He was an incredibly genial m=
an, and a truly generous Twain scholar.  I first met him when I was a gradu=
ate student at Berkeley.  He happened to overhear me talking with a librari=
an when I was paging some material from the Twain collection.  So he came o=
ver and introduced himself and asked what I was working on.  I was flabber-=
gasted and flattered to think that someone of his stature in Twain scholars=
hip would want to know what a green grad student was doing.=20
> Later we went out for coffee and he held me in rapt attention as he talke=
d about his work on the _HF_ ms.  This was before the lost portion had been=
found.  I can still recall his enthusiasm as explained the challenge of so=
lving triple cancellations.  We crossed paths at conferences for a number o=
f years, always with his usual warmth.  His curiosity about the work of oth=
ers never flagged.=20
> I knew that he'd suffered some serious health issues a few years ago, and=
his absence at Elmira and other events where Twain scholars congregate was=
often noted by those with fond memories of him.  Although we've been missi=
ng him for a while now, this news strikes with somber finality.  =20
> He characterized many of the qualities that drew me to the Twain communit=
> Larry Howe
> Professor of English & Film Studies
> Department of Literature and Languages
> Roosevelt University
> ________________________________________
> From: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Taylor Roberts <ta=
[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sunday, December 4, 2016 9:15 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Victor A. Doyno, 1937-2016
> I am sorry to report that Vic Doyno died on November 16, according to
> an obituary at
> His wonderful edition of MT=3DE2=3D80=3D99s skeptical writings strongly a=
> me
> to MT many years ago (_Mark Twain: Selected Writings of an American
> Skeptic_ [Prometheus Books, 1983]). A couple of memorable sections
> from Doyno=3DE2=3D80=3D99s introduction to that book are below:
> "One current widespread view of Mark Twain holds that his scathing
> skepticism and acid pessimism were caused by the many personal
> tragedies of his life.... But another, more thorough view of the man
> and his work would transcend this simple biographical explanation. As
> this book demonstrates, Mark Twain=3DE2=3D80=3D99s skepticism is found th=
> his published works, early to late. It is an oversimplification--and
> finally disrespectful to the man and his mind--simply to say that
> personal difficulties caused his skepticism. A wider perspective
> reveals that his background, his experience, his journalistic ability
> to be objective and to see only what is there, his reading, and, most
> of all his intellectual acuity contributed to the shape of his
> thought." (2)
> "His overall life experience led Sam Clemens/Mark Twain to know that
> this life, this earth, is all we know of heaven--and all we need to
> know of hell." (12)
> I had the pleasure to meet Vic at some conferences and he was such a
> pleasant gentleman, as one would hope of one=3DE2=3D80=3D99s heroes. I se=
nd my
> condolences to his family and friends, and also my gratitude for his
> many other contributions to MT studies and to the Forum.
> Feel free to post your own memories so we can "give him a good
> send-off and waltz him through handsome" (RI ch. 47).
> Taylor Roberts