Category Archives: The Study

Blog posts for The Study


Virtually everyone has been wrong about Huck and Jim’s raft. To understand where it was built, how it was built, why it was built, what it looked like, what its original purpose was, and how it happened to be adrift on the Mississippi River, I found myself reading about the history of river commerce and the logging and lumber industries at the middle of the nineteenth century. And I found myself building a scale model ot Huck and Jim’s little Read more…


Last week Ron Powers visited Elmira College and the Center for Mark Twain Studies. The bestselling and award-winning author of MarK Twain: A Life (2005) led several discussions, including of his most recent book, Nobody Cares About Crazy People (2017), recently named a finalist for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Science Writing Award. Powers also gave the first Trouble Begins lecture of the 2018 season. In “Travelin’ Man,” Powers argues that Twain “staked out” a “roadmap for proletarian writing” which would be followed by 20th-century Read more…


EDITOR’S NOTE: Last week, Jocelyn Chadwick responded to the recent removal of “sensitive texts,” including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, from the curriculum in Duluth Public Schools by asking “When will WE listen?” This week, Dr. Chadwick and John E. Grassie, co-authors of Teaching Literature in the Context of Literacy Instruction, share with us the voices of some of the students who they have been listening to as they tour U.S. classrooms.     In so many ways and for so many reasons, we practitioners of Read more…


EDITOR’S NOTE: The Duluth Public School District in Minnesota recently decided to drop two novels from their curriculum, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird. Jocelyn Chadwick, current President of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and a former Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, is both an expert on secondary education in the U.S. and an acclaimed scholar of Mark Twain, having authored The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn. She takes this opportunity to discuss the importance of these controversial Read more…


The Quarry Farm Fireplace Creative Writing Contest CMTS is pleased to announce the creation of creative writing contest for elementary school students.  Three winners will be awarded a tour of Quarry Farm, including inside the main house. A PDF copy of this assignment can be found by clicking here. Mark Twain on the Quarry Farm Porch The Center for Mark Twain Studies encourages local elementary school teachers to discuss Mark Twain’s legacy in Elmira and the Southern Tier region of New Read more…


The Spring 2018 Trouble Begins” Lecture Series Previous “Trouble Begins” lectures can be found and downloaded in the “Trouble Begins Archives” or by clicking here. Wednesday, March 21 in Cowles Hall on the Elmira College Campus 7 p.m. “Mark Twain: Travelin’ Man”  Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, media critic, and New York Times best selling author Mark Twain’s prodigious travels around his region, then the nation, and then the world, have provided pleasure and scholarly thought for more than a century. Read more…


There is perhaps no greater testament to Twain’s lasting reputation than the habitual misattribution of miscellaneous wit and wisdom to his name. The circulation of such apocryphal aphorisms was common enough in the 20th century. It has only increased with the popularization of digital media. The most common question addressed to the Center for Mark Twain Studies is some variety of “Did he really say that?” Whenever possible, we track down the original source, as well as attempt to trace Read more…


Although I generally like Chris Rock as a comedian, one of his jokes has always rubbed me the wrong way. Rock told the joke back in 1999 as part of the Kennedy Center’s program honoring Richard Pryor as the first recipient of its first Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. According to the Chicago Tribune’s account: Chris Rock wondered what would have happened if Mark Twain had ever met Richard Pryor. “(Pryor would) probably say, `I really enjoy your work,’” Read more…


My name is Mac Morrison, I am an undergraduate student at Tulane University. I’ve loved Mark Twain’s books since I was a very small child, and I’d like to gain a deeper understanding of the man and his work. In most academic fields there seem to be a short list of works by modern scholars that are considered canonical within the field,  and I was just wondering if you might be able to recommend some titles that fit that description Read more…


Although Mark Twain’s writing shows a partiality toward masculine experiences and perspectives, critical scholarship in the last 20 years or so has chipped away at the masculine critical bias. The Mark Twain Circle seeks proposals for papers that pursue these gender investigations further, re-interpreting representations of masculinity, femininity, or cross-dressing in the writings of Mark Twain or the influence of gendered social conventions on the life of Samuel Clemens. We welcome research perspectives that highlight the ways in which gender Read more…


EDITOR’S NOTE: The following paper was originally on the program for the 8th International Conferences on the State of Mark Twain Studies, which took place this past August at Elmira College. Unfortunately, Hamada Kassam, a Syrian national who is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at American University of Sharjah, was unable to present his paper in person, due to Executive Order 13769. While it is little compensation for his presence, we are proud to publish a slightly abridged version of his proposed presentation here. 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.  The Hemingway Files. By H. K. Bush. Blank Slate Press, 2017. Pp. 357. Paperback. $15.95. Read more…

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