Your comments and Mary's review focus are good ones, I think. Lou Budd
has also written an article concerning Twain as a cultural icon. He has
appeared in episodes of Star Trek, and Joseph Heller uses the opening of
Tom Sawyer in his _Portrait of the Artist, as an Old Man. Twain gets
appropriated in many places, sometimes as a hoky sales pitch, sometimes
more "legitimately." The question of what happens to his image remains.
I don't remember that Lou addresses that issue in his article. At this
point in time, though, it seems clear that students have a different image
of Twain if they have been exposed to him in some of these other forms.
I don't really see any way to "protect" his image, tho. It was shifting
even when he was alive, sometimes because of SLC's own manipulations (the
white suit, etc) and sometimes due to additions or subtractions to it made
by the press...sounds like a book idea to me.