Category Archives: CMTS Events


Samuel L. Clemens pioneered a modern understanding of the new information economy emerging in the U.S. in the years after the Civil War because he understood and marketed Mark Twain as a brand-name comic commodity. Judith Yaross Lee explains how Clemens managed the Mark Twain brand by extending it to some activities, excluding it from others, and exploiting its modern conception of the self in his public performances.   Judith Yaross Lee is Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Charles Read more…


Recent books by Richard Zacks and Judith Yaross Lee (who will be giving the final lecture of the fall season of Trouble Begins at Eight on November 2nd) have emphasized Mark Twain’s unprecedented performance style. Twain abandoned the self-serious moralizing of popular antebellum lecturers, but also demurred from seeking easy laughs like slapstick vaudevillians. Next week, on October 27th at 7:00 PM, CMTS welcomes a contemporary performer who, like Twain, blends talents as a journalist, comedian, actor, and social critic Read more…


Jon Clinch, pictured above with symposium co-organizer Kent Rasmussen, challenged the audience for his keynote address on Friday, October 7th to seek the unspoken questions in Mark Twain’s works. Clinch specifically described one such question, the one that inspired his acclaimed 2007 novel, Finn. That question, which he described as “so obvious it is easily forgotten,” is, “Who is Huckleberry Finn’s mother?” From this question, and from the mysterious circumstances in which Twain left Pap Finn’s corpse in Chapter IX of Read more…


The second lecture in the fall portion of The Trouble Begins at Eight Lecture Series will be presented by Peter Messent, at 8:00 p.m., on Wednesday, October 12 in the Barn at Quarry Farm. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and attendees are invited to enjoy light refreshments preceding the lecture, which is free and open to the public. “‘You know the secret places of our hearts’: The Mark Twain – Joe Twichell Letters” will use selected highlights from The Mark Twain-Joseph Twichell Letters (edited by Hal Bush, Steve Read more…


Welcome Twainiacs to the 2016 Center for Mark Twain Studies Weekend Symposium at Elmira College. For your convenience, here is the program.  


The Center for Mark Twain Studies is sponsoring two competitions: The 24th Annual Mark Twain Writing Contest & The “Portraying Mark Twain” Art Competition. Both contests are open to all Elmira College students. 


Please join the staff of the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies for an intimate gathering of Twain scholars in the picturesque setting of Quarry Farm. In a letter to William Dean Howells in the fall of 1876, Samuel Clemens wrote, “The Farm is perfectly delightful this season. It is quiet and peaceful as a South Sea Island. Some of the sunsets which we have witnessed from this commanding eminence were marvelous.” We hope you too can witness the Read more…

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