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Mark Twain in Spokane on Aug. 7, 1895

His stop here was part of a speaking tour designed to help get himself out of debt.


How old were you when you read this?


Did a parent or teacher try to put in perspective the author's use of the controversial word or did you realize what Twain was doing without anyone holding your hand?

Hucks: Twain’s ‘Prince’ Under Review

In the “Believe It or Not” Department, the Coeur d’Alene School Board will decide whether Mark Twain’s “The Prince and the Pauper” is appropriate reading in eighth-grade classrooms. Before you dial the district office, however, there’s more to the story. Seems the Coeur d’Alene School District is saddled with a policy requiring a review of all novels planned for class consumption. The books are reviewed by an ad hoc committee and then face a 30-day public review. That’s the fallout from the 2008 patron outcry, in some circles, against “Snow Falling on Cedars,” the award-winning novel by David Guterson, which contained some sexual references. No one has complained about Twain’s classic. Yet. And the ad hoc committee has recommended the book for acceptance by the Coeur d’Alene School Board. But it appears that common sense is lacking in district handling of classics like Twain’s/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.

Question: Should teachers be allowed to decide which books are good for classroom reading (as long as they provide an opt out for families that object to their choices)?

Mark Twain’s 176th Anniversary Today

Today is the 176th birthday of Mark Twain, or as his parents knew him, Samuel L. Clemens. Twain is best known for his American fiction, including “Tom Sawyer,” but he was also an intrepid traveler and travel-writer who paved the way for the Bill Brysons of our day. In “Innocents Abroad" he wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime”/Scott Baldauf, Christian Science Monitor. More here.

Question: Last book by Mark Twain that you read?

Marc Johnson: Are You Unique?

KNOW anyone who wears white suits these days? The signature white suit was adopted rather late in his life by the great writer and humorist Mark Twain as part of his “brand.” It was part of what made Mark Twain, well, Mark Twain. In his enjoyable book, Mark Twain: Man in White, Richard Shelton tells the delightful story of Twain showing up on a December day for a Congressional hearing in Washington wearing a snow white suit, shirt, tie and shoes. Twain’s friend William Dean Howells said: “Nothing could have been more dramatic than the gesture with which he flung off his long loose overcoat, and stood forth in white from his feet to the crown of his silvery head.” Just what Twain intended/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Question: How would you describe — brand — yourself in a short sentence that highlights your uniqueness?

New ‘Huck Finn’ Stirs Controversy

A century after his death, Mark Twain is being "sivilized" just like his hero Huck Finn. A new edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn omits a racial epithet that has caused controversy since the book took its place decades ago on the shelf of great American literature. In place of the word n ———— -, which appears 219 times in Twain's text, the word "slave" will be substituted in a combined edition of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, to be published next month by NewSouth Books.Many Twain scholars can't stand it. But Alan Gribben, professor of English at Auburn University-Montgomery, says his new edition is not for them. It's for readers who cannot get past the slur to take in the rest of the book — and thereby understand Twain's opposition to racism/Martha T. Moore, USA Today. More here.
Question: Was it right for Prof Gribben to replace Mark Twain's hyper-offensive N-word in the original "Huckleberry Finn" with the word "slave"?

Mark Twain Papers To Be Published

Item: After keeping us waiting for a century, Mark Twain will finally reveal all: The great American writer left instructions not to publish his autobiography until 100 years after his death, which is now/Guy Adams, The Independent

More Info: Scholars are divided as to why Twain wanted the first-hand account of his life kept under wraps for so long. Some believe it was because he wanted to talk freely about issues such as religion and politics. Others argue that the time lag prevented him from having to worry about offending friends. One thing’s for sure: by delaying publication, the author, who was fond of his celebrity status, has ensured that he’ll be gossiped about during the 21st century.

Question: Why do you think Mark Twain sealed his autobiography until 100 years after his death, which is now?