SDSU LIBRARY CELEBRATES THE LIFE AND WORKS OF AMERICA'S STORYTELLER
Before Jon Stewart skewered his first politician and Bill Maher roasted
religion, there was Mark Twain, making Americans laugh-and arguably
think-about subjects that weren't funny at all. Racism, foreign policy,
class, religion, and hypocrisy all fell victim to Twain's wit, as
evidenced in the many volumes he penned. Without the aid of television
or the Internet, Twain became renowned around the world for his satire
and social criticism, as well for helping to create a true American
literature based on the nation's own themes and language.
This year marks the 175th anniversary of Twain's birth and the 100th
anniversary of his death, and the San Diego State University Library
plans to celebrate the man dubbed "the nation's first rock star" by
biographer Ron Powers, author of "Mark Twain: A Life." "The Adventures
of Mark Twain: A Centenary Celebration" will feature a series of free
lectures, events, and an exhibit during spring and fall 2010.
The celebration begins on March 12 with "A Mark Twain Centenary
Tribute," a play written by Margaret Larlham, that is co-sponsored by
the SDSU Library and the SDSU School of Theatre, Television and Film.
For information about show times and tickets, call the box office at
The lecture series begins on March 23 with Shelley Fisher Fishkin
discussing "Mark Twain-Ambassador at Large." Fishkin is director of
Stanford's American Studies Program and the author of works on Twain,
including the forthcoming "Mark Twain's Book of Animals." The free
lecture starts at 3:30 p.m. in Room LL430.
Jerry Griswold, SDSU professor of English and Comparative Literature,
will present "Twain's Twins, But I Repeat Myself" on April 20 at 3:30
p.m. in Room LL430. On April 27, Edward Blum, SDSU assistant professor
of history, will talk about "Mark Twain and His Religious War Against
Imperialism" at 3:30 p.m. in Room LL430. The lecture series will
conclude with Linda Morris' discussion "Escaping in Style: Racial and
Gender Crossing in 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'" on May 4 at 3:30
p.m. in Room LL430. Morris is the author of "Gender Play in Mark Twain"
and a professor emeritus of the University of California, Davis. Her
lecture is co-sponsored by the SDSU Department of Women's Studies.
In the fall, Special Collections will host a Mark Twain exhibit on loan
from Vanderbilt University. This exhibit of rare source material will
showcase first edition books and illustrate Twain's struggles with the
copyright laws of his time. In addition to materials supplied by
Vanderbilt, items from the SDSU Library's Special Collections Department
and the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri, will
be included. The opening date for the exhibit has not yet been set.
Also in the fall, the SDSU Library will be featuring several films
related to Mark Twain, including a filmed version of Hal Holbrook's
famous one-man show "Mark Twain Tonight," the 1985 version of "The
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," and Ken Burns' series "Mark Twain."
Dates and locations have not been determined.
For more information, please call Roberta Niederjohn at (619) 594-4991.
Updated information about the celebration and library hours can be found
at the library's Website: http://infodome.sdsu.edu. The SDSU Library is
located at 5500 Campanile Drive on the San Diego State University
[The above announcement is passed along to the Forum by Chad Rohman and
Jim Leonard on behalf of the Mark Twain Circular.]