Twain Scholar Robert Hirst Joins Big Read Celebration at Kansas City Public Library

For Immediate Release:
September 14, 2011
Contact: Paul Smith
Twain Scholar Robert Hirst Joins Big Read Celebration at Kansas City Public Library

The Kansas City Public Library hosts Twain scholar Robert Hirst for a presentation called Where the Twain Meet: The Enduring Cross-Generational Appeal of Tom Sawyer on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in such a fashion that his first novel simultaneously addressed two divergent audiences: the young and the formerly young. At times, his story ridicules boyhood fantasies (such as finding buried treasure and rescuing a damsel in distress) and later grants these same ridiculous hopes and dreams. In creating a text that speaks to two age groups, Twain appears as the literary forerunner of Pixar Animation Studios.    

Hirst details how Twain maximized the appeal of his book for both young readers and adults - including changes he made to the text in order to preserve the necessary "proprieties," which can be rather mysterious to readers 135 years later.     

Hirst is the general editor and official curator of the Mark Twain Papers and Project at the University of California - Berkeley, where he is currently developing the second volume of the bestselling Autobiography of Mark Twain.

Admission is free. RSVP online or call 816.701.3407.

Presented in partnership with ParkUniversity, this event is a part of The Big Read celebration of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, coordinated by the Kansas City Public Library and Kansas City Ballet.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. For more information about The Big Read in Kansas City, visit

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