Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rare Film of Mark Twain by Thomas Edison

In one of my college literature courses, we were assigned to read Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Many of my fellow students questioned why we had to read such a seemingly simple book at the university level. Others took issue with some of the language in the book (but that's a whole other blog post). But the professor refused to acquiesce, so we proceeded with Twain's 1885 novel.

American author Mark Twain, looking thoughtfully out a window, in 1907.
Image from http://blogs.publishersweekly.com
Revisiting one of Twain's classic works at the college level made clear what a masterful storyteller he was. The Hannibal, Missouri, native had such a way with words that he was heralded as "the greatest humorist of his age" and "the father of American literature." Twenty-four years after the publication of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, at the age of 73, was filmed by none other than the great American inventor Thomas Edison. Edison's footage of Mark Twain - shot in 1909, just one year before Twain's death in 1910 - shows the esteemed writer ambling around Stormfield, his sprawling estate in Redding, Connecticut. You can watch this rare footage, which is the only known footage of Mark Twain, below.

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