The Henry Nash Smith Award is given to a Twain scholar who has demonstrated exemplary service to the Center for Mark Twain Studies.  During Elmira 2017: The Eighth International Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies, the Henry Nash Smith Award was given to Dr. Barbara Snedecor. Dr. Snedecor earned her PhD while working full-time at Elmira College as a Writing Lecturer, Associate Director of the Writing Program, ESL Director, and then Director for the Center for Mark Twain Read more…


Ben Tarnoff, author of The Bohemians: Mark Twain & the San Francisco Writer Who Reinvented American Literature, gave the keynote address at the 8th International Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies, hosted by the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College. Tarnoff’s talk, “Vulgarity from Below, Vulgarity from Above: Twain in the Age of Trump,” creatively addresses the most common and confounding question addressed to Twain scholars in 2017: What would Mark Twain think of these times we live Read more…


On Saturday, August 5th, the Mark Twain Circle presented the Louis J. Budd Award to Laura Skandera Trombley at the 8th International Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies, hosted by the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College. Dr. Trombley is a Professor of English at University of Southern California, as well as former President of Pitzer College and the Huntington Library. She is also author of two books on Sam Clemens’s relationships with women, as well Read more…


A train rumbles through the city of Elmira. The tracks are at least three miles away, and I can hear it as a distant echo. I think of the past and the future here at Quarry Farm. It’s 4:00 A.M. and a cat, the cat, of the house has developed a habit of strolling through my room in the middle of the night like a young man entering a party just a little too full of himself. The distant ghost 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…


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 [email protected] 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…


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…


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…

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