Mark Twain Forum,
I've noticed a lot of ads and sales pitches on the Forum lately that didn't seem to be there before. People seem to be pitching products of their own through the Forum that use Twain materials in various ways. I could be wrong. These self-promotional materials are marketed to "Twainians" and "Twainiacs" via the Forum utilizing the "Twainmania" we all are apparently consumed by. I may be mistaken.
Perhaps I'm unfairly comparing some of today's Forum submissions with those of some years ago when academic and scholarly experts in Twain studies, as well as book collectors, literary critics, book reviewers, historians, aficionados contributed ideas, reviews, articles, opinions about Twain and his writings to the Forum. That must be it. Twain as an interesting and complex person and American writer and humorist was thoughtfully considered and discussed on the Forum I'm remembering. Perhaps I'm misremembering.
Maybe not, though. Deep into my inbox I ran into a bunch of old 2001 emails from the Forum that I had saved because they had interesting and compelling things to say about Twain. In the middle of these was an email dated 8/8/01 which, in hindsight, may express one of the new directions the Forum was about to take — from "academically stimulating" to "regardless of their knowledge level about Twain."
Here's the excerpt:
"I would like to recommend a new topic for all of the Mark Twain Forum members to engage in. Wouldn't it be interesting for all of us to find out others' favourite Twain work and reasons why? Although I agree that it is academically stimulating to continue the diatribe about Mark Twain's biography, the topic is becoming tired to me. If others agree to find a new topic to involve all the members, perhaps they will consider this one as a way to involve all the subscribers, regardless of their knowledge level about Twain."
When a "topic," even Mark Twain's biography, it seems, becomes "tired to me," the Forum is perhaps well advised to cease its "academically stimulating" diatribes in favor of finding out "others' favourite Twain work." Maybe that is the wisest course. Perhaps such change is good and inevitable. I could be wrong.
Professor Emeritus of English
North Dakota State University
6104 Tracy Ave. So.
Edina, MN 55436
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On 7/23/12 12:06 PM, "[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>" <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
Haven't posted anything here for a while; been producing my Mark Twain
show a couple of times a month here in Chicago, and adding new
material all the time. I was very fortunate to have Bernie Sahlins
produce a "Mark Twain In Person" for The Driehaus Museum here. Bernie
is well into his eighties--he founded the Second City Theatre; we've
worked on many projects together since 1979, but this was the first
time he'd produced my Mark Twain show. The Driehaus is set to produce
"Mark Twain's Christmas" in December (it says here); please let me
know if you'd like comps/discounts to any of my shows that play in
your area. It's the least I can do to repay the pages and pages of
interesting and useful information and literature relating to our
Also, I've also published another Mark Twain audio book: Roughing It.
It came in at 19 hours and 10 minutes, and I'm selling it as a
download for $25 on my own "Mark Twain In Person" website.
I am aware that this book has already been recorded several times, but
I've decided to not let that interfere with my enjoyment of it--nor
any of the other books that I've "covered"--it's always been the work
itself that has been the greatest reward--savoring his words,
inhabiting the character,and reliving his amazing and varied
Anyone wishing for a "pre-publication" mp3 download of Roughing It,
please email me directly and I'll send you a free copy. This offer
will expire July 31 at midnight.
Also, I've begun recording Chapters from my Autobiography. I am
posting the chapters on SoundCloud as they are finished, but I will
begin removing the opening chapters once I reach Chapter 10, Hopefully
some will want to buy the whole book to share with a fellow Twainiac.