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dee colvett <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 20 Dec 2001 20:58:57 -0600
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In Glen Johnson's review of some audio abridgments, he included this
paragraph --

>On the other hand, in considering Mark Twain's works, it will probably
>not do to be too purist about print.  Mark Twain developed his art on
>the platform and gave readings throughout his career.  He apparently
>made some recordings, now lost.  His writing has an oral, performative
>basis; it began as the art of how to _tell_ a story. He was open to
>adaptations of his work in other media. So it is a reasonable surmise
>that he would find audio versions of his works acceptable, and might try
>to make some money that way.

dee c comments -- I initially thought the same -- that Twain's career in
public speaking explained why Huckleberry Finn was so easy for me to read
aloud.  I have decided differently.

My reading aloud was at the request of a local high school teacher, who
asked me to help a student who was having trouble reading, but who
compensated for that by being a very precise and complete hearer.  I read
the complete text of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" onto tape for him,
and, not finding a free web version at the time, I put it on a web site in

That was so much fun to do that I decided to add excerpts from some of my
favorite parts of "Life on the Mississippi" and "Roughing It".  Those
readings were much more difficult.  The sentences were longer and more
convoluted, and the diction was clumsy.

The difference, I think, between the full-text oral readability of
"Mississippi" and "Roughing" and the oral readability of "Finn" is that the
first two were written as documentaries, and "Finn" was written as rhetoric.
That distinction is evident even in the introductions to all three.
"Mississippi" and "Roughing" were written to engage in conversation; "Finn"
was written to engage in conversion.

r d colvett
florence  al