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Jeffrey Steinbrink <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 8 Jul 1994 11:49:19 -0700
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Idea 38  For a Books on Tape Mark Twain

As an extension of the Mark Twain Project, we are thinking about a program
of Mark Twain Books on Tape.  These books could include the major novels
-- it is especially desirable for modern readers to hear Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn with its "Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of
the backwoods South-Western dialect; the ordinary 'Pike-County' dialect;
and four modified varieties of this last," as Mark Twain wrote -- or might
include a reading of the early Letters, including courtship letters to his
fiancee Olivia Langdon. Samuel Clemens himself read his books to his family
and his public performances were largely readings of his own works. A
reason to undertake the reading of the letters is that in these writings
we come as close as we can to hearing Mark Twain speaking as himself,
whereas in the works he is speaking in the voice of others, as it was his
genius to be able to do. But how might this be accomplished? Who would do
the readings? How would these tapes be published and distributed?  Would
there be a market for them?