I'd like to add a heartfelt "amen" to all the praise heaped on the
recent conference. It was my fourth in Elmira, and it was certainly one
of the best. "Magical" is not too strong a word to describe it.
During the conference, I used the video function on my little digital
still camera to record brief segments of several sessions. With the
permission of the people appearing in these segments, I have posted them
on YouTube. (I should add that I got the idea for doing this from John
Bird's wonderful "Why do you work on Mark Twain?" video.)
Here's a very brief excerpt from Alex Effgen's terrific paper on Mark
Twain as an icon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v3D4mLTPMCu5SU
For those of you who missed out on his session, Alex showed about 45 or
50 pictures of Mark Twain while delivering 20 minutes of nonstop, solid,
and incisive commentary. A bravura performance!
The final paper in that Saturday afternoon session was Mark Dawidziak's
presentation on the impact of Hal Holbrook's MARK TWAIN TONIGHT! show on
public awareness of Mark Twain generally and on Mark Twain scholarship
in particular. Another bravura performance. These four brief excerpts
from his paper will make you want to see the entire presentation.
(Incidentally, if you watch the fourth segment closely, you might guess
why I turned on my camera at that moment.)
Finally, the pice de r'sistance of what was already an amazing
session: In a move clearly inspired by Woody Allen's film ANNIE HALL
(think "Marshall McLuhan"), Mark brought with him Hal himself. After he
finished his presentation, Hal stood up and spoke for almost four
minutes. I recorded virtually all his words:
To those of you who missed the conference, mark your calendars for
August 2013. You won't want to make that mistake again.