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Rick Talbot <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 9 Jan 2011 20:38:35 -0600
text/plain (66 lines)
I am a Mark Twain Scholar and I can prove it. In August of 2009, I stood on
the porch of Quarry farm and listened to a tour guide finishing up her
welcoming remarks. She concluded, "And as you can see there are no parking
lots or paved roads to the farm because Quarry farm is not open to the

I was standing in the middle of a group of twenty or so and puzzled, I
asked, "If it's not open to the public what are we all doing here."

She folded her hands before her and tipping her head said, "You are not the
public. You are all Mark Twain Scholars."

The new Bowdlerized version of HF has certainly stirred up the forum. We
have heard from every quarter but one; Twain himself. As a scholar I feel
certain of what Twain would say about any author or editor that changed his
words, let alone his punctuation. He would be outraged and say of that
person: "If I had his lunch in steel trap I would shut out all human succor
and watch that trap till he got hungry."

Yes, I feel quite confident in quoting Twain this way.

Richard Talbot
Mark Twain Scholar

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Twain Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ballard, Terry
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 1:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: a new Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

I'm not a Twain scholar either - just a Twain enthusiast. Looking over the =
messages from the past few days, I can't help but wonder what Twain would s=
ay if we could magically transport him to our world. May it would go someth=
ing like this:

"I see that Professor Gribben has succeeded in improving my book so that pe=
ople will not be offended when they read it. I will grant that the professo=
r did this project with the best of intentions - just as the Good Lord did =
when he created black widow spiders, electric eels, cobras, mosquitoes and =
the Human Race. The professor thinks that the Human Race has evolved into s=
omething more genteel than what we had in the 19th century. If he feels tha=
t way, he should spend some time watching the news. If your modern humans m=
ust be protected from my book, who is to protect them from seeing the misad=
ventures of Mel Gibson and Lindsey Lohan? What a world you have created her=
e - it goes far beyond anything I could have ever predicted, but it must be=
 protected. Congress should pass laws. People should Tweet about this. Look=
 around you - America needs me more than ever. Today's youth can read Huck =
Lite and come away with the idea that slavery was a darned bad thing and we=
 were better off without it. Maybe that's enough for a nation where 50 perc=
ent of the population believes that the world is six thousand years old in =
the face of all scientific knowledge to the contrary. I must go now - I'm c=
atching up on American Idol."

Terry Ballard
Assistant Director of Technical Services for Library Systems
New York Law School, Mendik Library
185 W. Broadway
New York, NY, 10013
Telephone: 212-431-2106