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Tag Archives: Artemus Ward


  Although Mark Twain’s religious skepticism is well-known, some of his closest friends were clergymen and persons with a strong faith. In Elmira, New York, Twain became good friends with a most unusual clergyman, the Rev. Thomas K. Beecher, pastor of The Park Church, of which Jervis Langdon, Twain’s father-in-law, was a founding member. Please join CMTS for three nights of lectures at The Park Church, one of the most important historical and cultural landmarks in American religious history and Read more…


In 1985, the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies inaugurated The Trouble Begins at Eight 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 Francisco. The lectures are now held in the Fall and Spring of each year, in the barn at Quarry Farm or at Peterson Chapel in Cowles Hall on Elmira College’s campus. All lectures are free and open to the public.  The Spring Read more…


Adam McKay’s Oscar-winning film The Big Short opens with the above epigraph. Seems appropriate enough, for a cautionary tale about financial bubbles inflated by mass delusion. The film, like the Michael Lewis book upon which it is based, focuses with sometimes queasy admiration on the handful of financiers who bet against the conventional wisdom of the Greenspan era: that U.S. housing prices would rise in perpetuity. The epigraph describes what, in The Alchemy of Finance, George Soros calls a “fertile fallacy,” a Read more…

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