"It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

University of California Celebrates "Mark Twain at Play"

UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library will be hosting a special exhibit in December entitled "Mark Twain at Play", casting the spotlight on the man's leisure life. And this Friday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, visitors to the library will be able to get a sneak preview of the sure-to-be-fascinating exhibit.

Included in the collection will be such items of Clemensalia as:

  • A 1909 film of Clemens at home in Redding
  • Bills for cigars, tobacco and pipes
  • Photos of his beloved cats
  • A notebook used to help him navigate the Mississippi
  • Handwritten guest lists
  • A 1907 letter to a little girl he met on board a ship
  • Sketches for an unfinished play about doctors

"He never sparked out," said exhibit curator Lin Salamo. "I'm interested in how a person's sense of joyfulness is a wellspring for creative work. Writing is so solitary. But what feeds into it?"

Clemens' daughter Clara Samossoud donated her father's private papers to the University of California in 1962, leading to the establishment three years later of the Mark Twain Project, dedicated to collecting and preserving as much of the author's work as possible.

"Mark Twain at Play" will be free to all on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After that, its regular run will be from December 1 to March 31.

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