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Robert Slotta <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 6 Jan 1999 01:00:42 -0500
text/plain (42 lines)
First of all, the Ken Burns film isn't near completion, and it seems mere
rumor surrounds the improper portrayal of Mark Twain as described by certain
entities.  Mr. Ken Burns has been a first rate filmaker, and I personally
doubt very much that he or any of his staff would ever sacrifice truth in a
film for mere material gain.

Regarding the rumors now at the forefront of our attention, a few comments
can be made.

The observation that statements such that the Hartford residence of Mark
Twain was in any way responsible for his powers of literature or was any
sort of center for Mark Twain's creative powers is indeed a mistake in many
respects.  Mark Twain's thinking was mainly a function of his own body,
namely his brain, not any house he ever lived in.  All places he ever
visited or lived in made some sort of impression, and when it was
significant enough Mark Twain himself wrote about it.  Any inference that
Hartford in any way influenced Mark Twain's thinking more than any other
place on earth would make the mistake of  ignoring or overlooking the entire
span of time Sam Clemens experienced from his birth in 1835 through the time
he started living in Hartford.  Any claim that Mark Twain wrote Tom Sawyer
or Huck Finn  within the walls of his Hartford home would be absolutely
wrong, as any true Twain scholar knows.  This is by no means is
"hair-splitting" anything.  It would simply be fact.

Indeed it would be very easy for any legitimate Mark Twain scholar to show
that the influences WEST of the mighty Mississippi were by far and away much
more influential in the development of the writer Mark Twain than any
located east of the Mississippi.  Two people who were eastern influences,
namely his wife Livy and friend W.D. Howells were tranquilizing influences
on the mighty Twain, so even they cannot be credited with true, raw Mark
Twain creativity.  They can be credited with properly "containing" Mark

It can be said that the years in which the Clemens family occupied the
Hartford home were probably among the happiest days of Mark Twain's life,
which I make this explanation for the reason that without it many readers
would suppose that some of the rumors and scholars were trying to say the
same thing and not succeeding.

Truly A Twainiac,
Bob  Slotta