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

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Classic Clip from Hal Holbrook's 1967 "Mark Twain Tonight"

An amazing and highly amusing tidbit from Holbrook's landmark TV special. Might this have been even somewhat what it was like to witness the master at work?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Washington Post's Yardley Reasses Connecticut Yankee

Being a Connecticut Yankee myself, I was very pleased to read the excellent discussion of Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court earlier this week in the Washington Post. The Post's Jonathan Yardley takes an extended look at the sometimes neglected Twain classic:

For most of the way, "Connecticut Yankee" is a wonderfully funny and wildly improbable romp through Arthurian England, but toward the end it turns dark, with a bloody massacre that, as Justin Kaplan suggests in his introduction to the Penguin Classics edition, reflects Twain's own disenchantment with the mechanized modern world for which he had once held such high hopes. We now know, from the convenient vantage point of hindsight, that the darkness that had descended upon Twain never really lifted, and his writing became more eccentric and even angry as he railed against Christianity, despotism, humanity itself and anything else that aroused his considerable capacity for invective.

For more of this fascinating analysis, I encourage you to read the rest of the article right here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Archeaological Dig Resumes at Farm of Twain's Uncle

Last year, I reported of the archaeological excavation that had been taking place at the Florida, Missouri farm of Mark Twain's uncle John Quarles. And now, the Hannibal Courier-Post reports that the digging will once again be resuming on Saturdays of this month.

The farm, which Twain once called, "a heavenly place for a boy," is now owned by a Karen Hunt, who has been granting permission for the digs on and off for the past two years. Conducting by small teams of volunteers, the digs have thus far yielded items such as dishes, marbles and square nails.

Hunt tells the Courier-Post that her eventual plan is to turn the farm into a historical tourist attraction.