Category Archives: The Study

Blog posts for The Study


The CMTS staff is looking forward to welcoming everyone attending Elmira 2017: the Eighth International Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies. While the conference has garnered a reputation for stimulating conversations and erudite papers, it is also known for producing a pretty good time.  In this “spirit,” CMTS has partnered with Finger Lakes Distilling and is offering a limited edition, single barrel bourbon whiskey for purchase on Friday night and Saturday night.  A number of their other fine 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.  “Was It Heaven Or Hell?”: The Triumphs and Torments of Mark Twain. By Billie Valentine-Fonorow. Read more…


Malcolm Gladwell began the second season of his Revisionist History podcast with an episode about the public subsidization of expensive private golf clubs. He called the episode “A Good Walk Spoiled,” but wisely refrained from attributing that now ubiquitous phrase to any particular source. Many have not shown the same restraint. “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”–Mark Twain — Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) September 23, 2013 Unlike many of the aphorisms which we’ve traced in these pages, the substance of this quip was Read more…


Editor’s Note: This is the first in what we hope will be an ongoing series focused on adapting Twain to the classroom. If you have an assignment, activity, lesson plan, syllabus design, or pedagogical narrative which you would like to share with other teachers, please consider writing it up (500-1200 words) and sending it CMTS@elmira.edu. Now approaching its third year, the English elective “Writings of Mark Twain” at Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange, New Jersey explores the life, Read more…


On December 4, 2012, Public Law 112-201 instructed “the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of Mark Twain.” The $5 gold and $1 silver coins, which were available for purchase through the U.S. Mint, went on sale in January 2016. Surcharges from the sale of the coins were authorized to four Twain heritage sites: Elmira College’s Center for Mark Twain Studies; The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, CT; the Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Read more…


The mission of the Center for Mark Twain Studies is to support and promote all facets of Twain scholarship.  One of the most effective means of pursing this mission is our long-running lecture series The Trouble Begins and our relatively new Park Church Summer lectures series. All CMTS-sponsored  lectures are free and open to the public. Furthermore, via MarkTwainStudies.org, we can expand access to them by making them available as recordings for download or streaming. The CMTS lecture series, which features Read more…


While Mark Twain’s close bond with Congregationalist minister Joseph Twichell is well known among Twainians, the friendship he shared with another man of the cloth, the Rev. Moncure Conway, often receives little more than passing reference. We read mostly of Conway’s role as Twain’s literary representative in England or of his glowing review of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Occasionally there’s a reference to the time he helped Twain arrange a surprise visit for Olivia Clemens to the grave of Read more…


The 2017 Park Church Summer Lecture Series, presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, continues Wednesday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m., with its final lecture of the season, “Artemus Ward: The Man Who Made Lincoln Laugh” presented by John Pascal, teacher at Seton Hall Prep School. It is generally accepted that during his lifetime, Mark Twain was considered the preeminent American master storyteller and lecturer of humor. The tsunami that is Twain’s literary achievement can easily overwhelm Read more…


One hundred and fifty years ago, a wise man said:    …nothing pleases a child so much as to be a member of something or other. Your rightly-constituted child don’t care shucks what it is, either. -Mark Twain, Letter to the San Francisco Alta California, May 20, 1867; published July 7, 1867. However, you don’t have to be a child to see the merits of membership in the Mark Twain Circle. Founded in 1986, the Mark Twain Circle has brought together Read more…


The 2017 Park Church Summer Lecture Series, presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, continues Wednesday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m., with the lecture, “Conjuring the Superstitions of a Nation: Magic, Memory, and Huckleberry Finn,” presented by Sarah Ingle, English lecturer at the University of Virginia. In Following the Equator (1897), Mark Twain wrote, “Let me make the superstitions of a nation and I care not who makes its laws or its songs either.” Yet, despite this indication 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 and Europe. By Takeshi Omiya. Osaka Kyoiku Tosho, 2015. Pp. 417. Hardcover. $58.00. Read more…


During Term III, as part of the “Introduction to Archaeology” course, 12 students under my direction excavated the area on Quarry Farm where there are remains of a chimney. The chimney is located about 100 yards west of the cistern against the quarry wall, next to which the Mark Twain Study was originally located. First the area was cleaned. Surface finds during cleaning included many glass shards, window glass and nails. After cleaning, three 1 m. square test trenches were Read more…

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