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Tom Copeland <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 23 Apr 2003 12:35:08 -0700
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I have been on this list serve for several years, but this is my first
posting. With the recent war controversy I must say that I do enjoy all
postings from everyone. My contribution to Mark Twain citings is listed
below. I'm an amateur lover of Mark Twain. I've read hundreds of books about
him and one thing that strikes me is how accessible he is and how many
people with very different backgrounds and views, identify with Twain.
Everybody has something to say about him and I especially delight in reading
books written by non-professionals. Is there any other author that has had
so many books written about them for a young reader's audience, or a general
reader's (i.e. non-academic) audience, while at the same time having so many
books written about them for a highly critical academic audience?

I relate to Mark Twain particularly for his humor and his independent social
commentary. This is especially telling for me in times of war. Recently, I
met a Vietnam vet who had the opposite views on war from me. But we found
out that we both loved Mark Twain. It helped us listen more closely to and
appreciate what each other said. I imagine that if everyone on this list was
in a room with Mark Twain talking about the war, we would have a very
spirited discussion. But I also hope that our discussion would be more
thoughtful and we would be more appreciative of each other because of our
shared love for Twain.

Here's my Twain citing:
This week US Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwell issued a statement
announcing his resignation. In it he says,

"For my wife Wera Hildebrand and myself, getting to know something about
this fabulous country has been one of life's pinnacles. From North Block and
South Block to the valleys of Assam to the spare splendour of Rajasthan's
deserts and Mumbai's exuberance, from the mountains of Kashmir to the Golden
Temple to Kutch and Bangalore's IT dynamism, all that is India compels us.

How could it not, for to quote Mark Twain,

'India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the
mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of
tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history
of man are treasured up in India.'"


Tom Copeland