The purpose of this project is to celebrate Samuel L. Clemens' life in Redding, Connecticut by documenting and showcasing his time here in multiple formats both online and offline. Your donations & site sponsorships will help me dedicate more time to these projects and allow me to get them online sooner.

Tuesday, November 9

The Mark Twain Project's Robert H. Hirst Comes to Redding

The week, we are gearing up for a very special visit by World Renowned Mark Twain Expert- Robert Hirst. Heather Morgan, of the Mark Twain Library, saw that he was in Connecticut this week and extended an invitation for him to come on down to Redding for a visit. He accepted and we are thrilled, it is truly an honor. Though I have to come clean and admit that when Heather first shared this news with me I did not know who Robert Hirst was. Yep, I know, bad Twainiac! But how I found out just might make you laugh out loud... I received my copy of the Autobiography and settled into my easy chair, after a half hour of trying to figure out how the heck to read it (it's not your typical autobiography) I gave in and decided to start from the beginning.

It starts:

The Mark Twain Papers

Robert H. Hirst, General Editor

Well, as you can imagine, I was like John Belushi in Animal House when the horse has a heart attack. I've gathered myself since then but it's still hard to believe that we have the opportunity give Robert a grand tour of Redding and many of the Twain related sites and houses still standing here at the tail end of the Centennial year.

From the Mark Twain Project website:

Merging Works and Papers: The Mark Twain Project

In 1980, Robert H. Hirst, who had been one of those graduate students from 1967 to 1978, succeeded Anderson as the editor in charge of the Mark Twain Papers. At the behest of NEH, he merged the Works and Papers series into one edition, supported by one biennial grant, with one editorial board. He called it the Mark Twain Project.

He also enlarged the scope of the edition, making it for the first time explicitly comprehensive, aimed at collecting and editing everything of significance that Mark Twain wrote. But merging Works and Papers did not create a larger staff at Berkeley; it meant instead that both series of books had to share the time available from the existing group of resident editors.

Three of the graduate student editors from the 1960s are still at work in the Mark Twain Project, providing the continuity and experience that are invaluable for such a project, and that have enabled it to steadily improve the quality of the editions it produces. Resident editors routinely work with so-called “outside” editors, either from the original Iowa group or from later generations, and the Project has been supported by grants from NEH and matching private gifts for forty years.

The Project's most recent innovation is embodied in the current Web site, which required expertise not just in Mark Twain, but in the mysteries of electronic editing. The Web site has become the primary form of publication for the Project, although works such as the Autobiography will be published both digitally and in print.


"Perseverance is a principle that should be commendable in those who have judgment to govern it." -Mark Twain

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