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Larry Howe <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 5 Dec 2016 03:40:23 +0000
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I'm sorry to hear that Vic Doyno has died.  He was an incredibly genial man, and a truly generous Twain scholar.  I first met him when I was a graduate student at Berkeley.  He happened to overhear me talking with a librarian when I was paging some material from the Twain collection.  So he came over and introduced himself and asked what I was working on.  I was flabber-gasted and flattered to think that someone of his stature in Twain scholarship would want to know what a green grad student was doing. 

Later we went out for coffee and he held me in rapt attention as he talked about his work on the _HF_ ms.  This was before the lost portion had been found.  I can still recall his enthusiasm as explained the challenge of solving triple cancellations.  We crossed paths at conferences for a number of years, always with his usual warmth.  His curiosity about the work of others never flagged. 

 I knew that he'd suffered some serious health issues a few years ago, and his absence at Elmira and other events where Twain scholars congregate was often noted by those with fond memories of him.  Although we've been missing him for a while now, this news strikes with somber finality.   

He characterized many of the qualities that drew me to the Twain community.

Larry Howe
Professor of English & Film Studies
Department of Literature and Languages
Roosevelt University

From: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Taylor Roberts <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, December 4, 2016 9:15 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Victor A. Doyno, 1937-2016

I am sorry to report that Vic Doyno died on November 16, according to
an obituary at

His wonderful edition of MT=E2=80=99s skeptical writings strongly attracted=
to MT many years ago (_Mark Twain: Selected Writings of an American
Skeptic_ [Prometheus Books, 1983]). A couple of memorable sections
from Doyno=E2=80=99s introduction to that book are below:

"One current widespread view of Mark Twain holds that his scathing
skepticism and acid pessimism were caused by the many personal
tragedies of his life.... But another, more thorough view of the man
and his work would transcend this simple biographical explanation. As
this book demonstrates, Mark Twain=E2=80=99s skepticism is found throughout
his published works, early to late. It is an oversimplification--and
finally disrespectful to the man and his mind--simply to say that
personal difficulties caused his skepticism. A wider perspective
reveals that his background, his experience, his journalistic ability
to be objective and to see only what is there, his reading, and, most
of all his intellectual acuity contributed to the shape of his
thought." (2)

"His overall life experience led Sam Clemens/Mark Twain to know that
this life, this earth, is all we know of heaven--and all we need to
know of hell." (12)

I had the pleasure to meet Vic at some conferences and he was such a
pleasant gentleman, as one would hope of one=E2=80=99s heroes. I send my
condolences to his family and friends, and also my gratitude for his
many other contributions to MT studies and to the Forum.

Feel free to post your own memories so we can "give him a good
send-off and waltz him through handsome" (RI ch. 47).

Taylor Roberts