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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 18 May 2023 14:57:39 +0000
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I have had the same though as Scott; how can a bot know context? Start with the first Mark Twain article, signed "Yours dreamily, Mark Twain." In it a man looks in a mirror, and the mirror breaks. Never does Twain tell the reader that it is his (Twain's) first sally against the American Jury of your Peers concept, because he never tells us that the man murdered a man in cold blood, juggled the courts of California until he got a jury that acquitted him. He didn't need to, the name had been in the newspapers enough that his readers in the 1860s knew. (Did Twain get the broken mirror idea from an 1842 reprisal of Tennyson's Lady of Shallot?) Twain's sense of situation and context goes far wider than the man himself. 

In a message dated 5/18/2023 1:15:17 AM Pacific Standard Time, [log in to unmask] writes: 
Considering just what a Twain bot would be, I’m most bothered by the thought that I would not know what Mark Twain I was talking to. The idea that a person such as Twain could be distilled down to a particular personality with a particular set of ideas I find absurd. Indeed, that any person that had lived any kind of interesting life could be so rendered, I find quite disturbing. The Sam Clemens escaping the youthful confines of village life on the Mississippi is not the same person piloting a riverboat. He is not the same person found living in a foreign land of Washoe or San Francisco of the 1860’s, and especially not the same person who had traveled around the world and had so many preconceived ideas shattered by an interesting life. Aside from being entertained by his writings, my own interest in the man concerns his relationship with the context of his life, when and where he was. I have described the role Mark Twain has in my Twain’s Geography project as my Virgil, Dante’s guide through hell. I want to understand his impressions of where he was and what he was doing at the time of its doing. All these places changed through the time of his life and several he would revisit many times. His thoughts about such places would not be the same for each visit. What opinion of Florence, Italy would be the correct one? If I was to ask such a bot what he thought of New York, what would he tell me? -- /Unaffiliated Geographer and Twain aficionado/