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Alan Eliasen <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 16 Jan 2002 23:37:13 -0700
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   I think that any of us posed with the Herculean task of distilling all of
the interesting events of Twain's life into 4 hours would soon despair.  It's
like trying to cram an elephant into a hatbox.  Even if we could come upon an
elephant (or a hatbox, in this day and age,) I don't know that we could do a
job that would satisfy even ourselves.  I think that Ken Burns at least
managed to coerce the elephant into posing nicely in the steamer-trunk he was

   For every anecdote about Twain, I'm sure that all of us recalled a favorite
quote in Twain's own words that we treasure.  With a few more fortnights of
film, we might just start to feel the full contentment that we've all gotten
from reading and re-reading Twain's works.  (And for me, reading the man's own
words are the great joy of knowing Twain.)

   Hopefully this effort will awaken a greater interest and familiarity with
the subject, like many of Ken Burns' great films have done for me in the
past.  I, for one, enjoyed it, and it gave me a better insight into Twain's
life.  I was especially delighted to see some of the obscure and rare
photographs of my favorite author.

  "The critic's symbol should be the tumble-bug: he deposits his egg in
somebody else's dung, otherwise he could not hatch it."
- Mark Twain's Notebook, 1904

   (Thanks to Barbara Schmidt's wonderful website for putting the above quote
ready at hand: )

   Alan Eliasen
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