Category Archives: The Trouble Begins at Eight


On Wednesday, May 9 in The Barn at Quarry Farm at 7:00 p.m, Walter G. Ritchie, Jr. will present a lecture entitled, “High Style in Mid-Nineteenth Century Elmira: The Architecture & Interiors of the Jervis Langdon Mansion” By the 1860s, Jervis Langdon, Mark Twain’s father-in-law, was ready to create a home that announced his status as one of Elmira’s most successful and influential businessmen. After purchasing a house built in the 1850s, he immediately arranged to have it enlarged and 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…


The Center for Mark Twain Studies kicks off its Spring 2018 Trouble Begins lecture series by hosting Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize- and Emmy Award-winning writer and critic, on Wednesday, March 21 at 7:00 p.m. in Cowles Hall, Elmira College. The presentation is free and open to the public. Powers’ presentation, “Travelin’ Man,” looks into how 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. Somewhat less 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…


The fall portion of the 2017-2018 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series, presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies, concludes Wednesday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m., in Peterson Chapel, Cowles Hall on the Elmira College campus. The lecture will be followed by a book sale and author signing. Author and professor of English, Harold K. Bush will present the final fall lecture, “Collecting Mark Twain: Obsessions over the Great Authors and The Hemingway Files.”  According to Bush, obsession is frequently an overlooked Read more…


The fall portion of the 2017-2018 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series, presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies, continues Wednesday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Barn at Quarry Farm. The lecture, “Mark Twain and the Narrative Magic of Medieval Literacy Spunk-Water Stumps” will be presented by Liam Purdon from Doane University. While much instructive scholarship has been published treating Mark Twain’s interest in and use of Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur as predecessor text for A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, his Read more…


The fall portion of the 2017-2018 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series, presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies, continues Wednesday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the Barn at Quarry Farm, with a lecture that explores the “boy-inventor publishing explosion” of the late 1800s. The lecture, “Mark Twain and the Inventor Fiction Boom: Technology Meets American Conceit, 1876-1910” will be presented by Nathaniel Williams, from the University of California, Davis. In Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894), Mark Twain sends his most famous characters – Read more…


On Wednesday, October 4, The Trouble Begins Lecture Series presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies is going to the dogs (and cats). The first lecture, which begins at 7:00 p.m. in Cowles Hall at Elmira College, focuses on Twain’s portrayal of animal voices and early interest in animal rights. The lecture titled, “‘That heart-breaking bitch’: Aileen Mavourneen & the Transatlantic Anti-Vivisection Movement” will be presented by Emily E. VanDette, associate professor of English with the State University of New York at Fredonia. Read more…


The fall portion of the 2017-2018 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies features four lectures, with the first event set for Wednesday, October 4 in Cowles Hall at Elmira College.  All four lectures begin at 7:00 p.m., and are free and open to the public. In 1985, the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies inaugurated The Trouble Begins lecture series. The title comes from a handbill advertising Mark Twain’s October 2, 1866 lecture presented at Maguire’s Academy of Music in San Read more…


The voice in the above clip is that of John S. Tuckey, who, as Joe Csicsila puts it, “changed everything in Mark Twain studies back in 1963” with his book Mark Twain & Little Satan.  In 1985, as America celebrated the sesquicentennial of Samuel Clemens’s birth, Tuckey was part of the star-studded inaugural season of The Trouble Begins lecture series, now entering its 33rd year. The series began with a lecture by Hamlin Hill, author of Mark Twain: God’s Fool (1973) and Mark Twain & Read more…


Mark Dawidziak, author of the recently published Everything I Need to Know I Learned in The Twilight Zone and editor of several collections of Twain’s wit and wisdom, including Mark Twain for Cat Lovers, will explore the many intriguing personal and professional parallels between Twain and Rod Serling, two authors with profound connections to upstate New York. Both writers would retreat to upstate New York each summer with their families – Twain to Quarry Farm in Elmira, Serling to a cabin on 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…

Mark Twain's Study (Home)
The Mark Twain Archive
Trouble Begins at 8