Mark Twain's Journey to Jerusalem: Dreamland

(Rochester, NY) - Mark Twain's Journey to Jerusalem: Dreamland, airing Monday, December 18, 2017 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV, retraces Mark Twain's footsteps as a cub reporter on a bold adventure sailing around the Mediterranean and throughout Europe in 1867, with Jerusalem and the Holy Land as his ultimate destination. The 31-year-old reporter convinced a San Francisco newspaper to pay for his excursion aboard the Quaker City (the world's very first cruise ship at that time), in exchange for writing about his travels in regular dispatches. Narrated by Martin Sheen, the documentary reveals Twain's deep rooted and complex relationship with religion.

Having regularly attended church services as a child with his devoutly Christian mother, and thoroughly educated on Christianity and the Bible, his childhood imaginings of the Holy Land are confronted with a vastly different reality; the monuments, cities, and landscapes aren't as grand as the Scriptures led him to believe. He also finds himself disillusioned by the poverty and squalor he witnesses beneath the "splendor" of European culture. Through his shrewd and candid observations, Twain paints an original and irreverent portrait for his eager readers back home. It is the first time that an American audience sees Europe and the Holy Land from the perspective of the "Everyman." Upon returning home from his months-long voyage, Twain's irreverent letters and articles are compiled and edited into a best-selling travelogue, The Innocents Abroad. Though radical in its style and perspective, the book is an immediate hit, and establishes a new genre in travel writing. It also becomes standard reading for travelers going overseas.

The one-hour documentary features never-before-seen letters and documents written by Twain. It also includes the only film footage of him in existence, as well as the first ever footage shot in Jerusalem. Mark Twain's Journey to Jerusalem: Dreamland chronicles Mark Twain's exploits on his landmark journey and establishes Twain as the voice of America — funny, sarcastic, and powerfully opinionated.

Pictured: Mark Twain.
Photo courtesy of Indigo Films.



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