Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rest in Peace

Today is the 100th anniversary of the death of Samuel L. Clemons.

Like many kids of my generation, my first exposure to Mark Twain was Hal Holbrook's portrayal on television. In the mid '60's PBS was littered with Hal doing his one man Twain show. I came to Mark Twain via television, not his books.

Later, I found his books. For the life of me I will never understand book censorship. Busybodies, and improvers annoy me to no end. One of the few things I am intolerant of is intolerance. I had to read his books just because. Whenever a self appointed do gooder tells me no, I say yes. Mark Twain's writings have become one of the treasures of my life.

I especially enjoy his later works, mostly short stories, but most of all the book, Twain's family waited until 1962 to publish, "Letters From The Earth".

This is Twain at his full element. Completed near his death, its a diatribe against organized religion, a parody of the the book of Exodus, and beautiful satire.

If you are unfamiliar with "Letters From The Earth", it is on line here.

As Mark Twain wrote, "Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand."



James said...

All I can say is amen Toad.

Shelley said...

Wow. There is so much pleasure in learning something new about what you already love! I had either never realised or had forgotten about censorship issues around Huckleberry Finn.

I once saw James Whitmore live, doing Mark Twain material. But first, he faked a heart attack and scared us all that we were watching him die. It was all very appreciated after that, just because he was alive!

You are right, intolerance is particularly ugly.

Town and Country Mom said...

I portrayed Aunt Polly in my first theatre experience (4th grade), then read Tom Sawyer, wanted more, so, of course, then Huckelberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi. Wonderful. The Mister and our younger son read Huck Finn aloud this past summer--it was a gift to overhear their discussions every night. My favorite MT quote: There is rest and healing in the contemplation of antiquities.

Holly Goes Lightly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holly Goes Lightly said...

I grew up going to the Mark Twain house @ Nook Farm in Hartford every chance I got. Especially during the holidays. It wasn't the happiest time for him, but it was an incredible structure. I learned so much about him as a child, and that fascination continues.

Patsy said...

Mark Twain tops my dead-people-I'd-like-to-have-dinner-with list.

Brian said...

Thanks for the tip. It turns out my wife has a copy of Letters From The Earth in our office that I have had no intrest in picking up until now.