Category Archives: The Study

Blog posts for The Study


While I appreciate a sensational headline as much as anyone, and there are new bombshells arriving with disturbing daily frequency, when a friend sent me one that recently appeared in The Paris Review, “Mark Twain’s Disturbing Passion for Collecting Young Girls,” it felt, with a nod to another great American humorist, Yogi Berra, “like déjà vu all over again.” Samuel Clemens’s late-in-life friendships with prepubescent girls, ten to sixteen, is a well-mined area of Twain scholarship that continues to resurface. Read more…


EDITOR’S NOTE: Atsushi Sugimura’s provocative and nuanced reading of an under-appreciated tale was part of the Mark Twain & Native Americans Panel at The Eighth International Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies in August of 2017.   In this presentation, I’d like to examine the ways Sam Clemens makes reference, both directly and indirectly, to the marginalized tragedies of Native Americans in “The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut.” One of Clemens’s earliest and most illuminating explorations Read more…


Sam Clemens celebrated his 39th birthday on November 30, 1874 with his wife, Livy, and their two young daughters. Both Sam and Livy’s birthdays fell in close proximity to the Thanksgiving holiday. It was naturally a season dense with revelry and gift-giving, mostly focused around the children, but Livy did not forget her husband, presenting him with the recently-published first edition of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Hanging of the Crane, illustrated by Mary Hallock and Thomas Moran. It is a gift rich Read more…


If you wish to donate, click the “Donate” button on the upper right corner of the main page. Dear Friends, Thanks to your past support of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, we’ve been able to achieve important goals for the Mark Twain Studies academic community on an international and local level. Please know that none of these achievements would have been possible without the support of our “Dear Friends,” members just like you. That’s why we are asking you Read more…


In 1905, Thanksgiving Day fell on the 30th of November, which also happened to be Sam Clemens’s 70th birthday. In his autobiography, he claims an effort was made “to get the President to select another day for the national Thanksgiving, and I furnished him with arguments to use which I thought persuasive and convincing.” Among these was that “the original reason for a Thanksgiving Day has long ago ceased to exist – the Indians have long ago been comprehensively and Read more…


Editor’s Note: CMTS is proud to partner with the Mark Twain Forum, which has long been a leading venue for reviews of new publications in Mark Twain Studies. Visit their extensive archive. Follow the link at the bottom of the page to read the complete review. A portion of Amazon purchases made via links from Mark Twain Forum Book Reviews is donated to the Mark Twain Project.  Mark Twain’s Geographical Imagination. Joseph A. Alvarez, ed. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009. Hardcover, 167 pages. Read more…


As we near the end of fall term, the days get shorter, the mornings get colder, and students, teachers, and parents alike get increasingly agitated. Under such conditions, the problems of our schools, real and imagined, are magnified and exaggerated. November is a ripe season for anti-intellectualism and dozens of Tweeters turn every day to one of the most enduring apocryphal aphorisms of America’s leading iconoclast: I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. – Mark Twain #quote Read more…


Editor’s Note: CMTS is proud to partner with the Mark Twain Forum, which has long been a leading venue for reviews of new publications in Mark Twain Studies. Visit their extensive archive. Follow the link at the bottom of the page to read the complete review. A portion of Amazon purchases made via links from Mark Twain Forum Book Reviews is donated to the Mark Twain Project.  Flood: A Novel. Melissa Scholes Young. Center Street/Hachette Book Group, 2017. Pp. 321. Hardcover $26.00. Read more…


EDITOR”S NOTE: What follows is a revised version of a talk delivered by Dr. Reigstad at the 8th Quadrennial Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies. It draws upon materials from both the CMTS archives and the Chemung County Historical Society.  Mark Twain officially joined the Langdon family and became associated with its vast coal enterprises when he became engaged to Olivia on February 4, 1869. Three weeks later Twain found himself hanging out in New York City with Read more…


A recent issue of NCTE’s English Journal includes a Special Section on “Teaching Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” The editors open the section by acknowledging it “may offend some readers” and predict “There will be backlash. So be it.” In the spirit of embracing the debate, the journal has made the essays in this section free to access and download. I encourage you to do so. In the central essay of the Special Section, to which all the others respond, Peter Smagorinsky’s argument rests on the production Read more…


A new documentary, Mark Twain’s Journey to Jerusalem: Dreamland, airs tonight on PBS. Narrated by Martin Sheen, the award-winning film features insights from Twain scholars around the world. According to the filmmakers, Mark Twain’s Journey to Jerusalem will retrace “Twain’s footsteps using actual details from his letters and journals. The film tells a little-known story of Mark Twain as a young reporter, embarking on a maiden voyage over the Atlantic and across the Holy Land. His final destination – the ancient city Read more…


Claude Hope and Johnny Bright to SLC, 14 April 1882, (UCLC 41249) Reproduced with permission. Further reproduction without express written permission is prohibited.

Mark Twain liked to imagine moments of speaking from beyond the grave. Perhaps the most well-known example is in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as Huck, Joe, and Tom—but mostly Tom—enjoy the melancholic, sweet, and ridiculous gratification of hearing their own funeral sermon from the gallery of the community church. Twain imagined his own postmortem moments, too. Below he interrupted an 1880 letter to Joseph Twitchell to address those he thought would be peeking through his mail: Well, we are Read more…

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