Tag Archives: Gilded Age


Last weekend (October 5-7. 2018) CMTS hosted the 2018 Quarry Farm Weekend Symposium “American Literary History and Economics in the New Gilded Age.” The economic expansion of the U.S. during Mark Twain’s lifetime was unprecedented, in this country or any other. Twain was fascinated by the technological innovations that transformed commerce and industry, the volatile financial markets that strained to keep up with the demands of entrepreneurs and investors, the infamous magnates that accumulated private fortunes unimaginable to previous generations, the Read more…


At the outset of his chapter on “The Economics of American Literary Realism” in The Routledge Companion to Literature & Economics (published today, by the way), Henry Wonham asks whether “the diverse set of writers generally aligned with the aesthetic disposition of realism…share an overriding interpretation of the economic conditions that inspired [Mark] Twain and [Charles Dudley] Warner to give [the Gilded Age] its notorious moniker?” The 2018 Quarry Farm Symposium on “American Literary History & Economics in the New Gilded Age” is 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.  Splittin’ the Raft. By Scott Kaiser. CreateSpace, 2017. Pp. 110. Paperback. $11.99. ISBN 978-1-981954162. The Read more…


Claude Hope and Johnny Bright to SLC, 14 April 1882, (UCLC 41249) Reproduced with permission. Further reproduction without express written permission is prohibited.

Mark Twain liked to imagine moments of speaking from beyond the grave. Perhaps the most well-known example is in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as Huck, Joe, and Tom—but mostly Tom—enjoy the melancholic, sweet, and ridiculous gratification of hearing their own funeral sermon from the gallery of the community church. Twain imagined his own postmortem moments, too. Below he interrupted an 1880 letter to Joseph Twitchell to address those he thought would be peeking through his mail: Well, we are Read more…


In a recent New York Times column heralding “The Collapse of American Identity,” Robert Jones  notes that British writer G.K. Chesterton once observed that the United States was “a nation with the soul of a church.” According to Jones, Chesterton “wasn’t referring to the nation’s religiosity but to its formation around a set of core political beliefs enshrined in founding ‘sacred texts,’ like the Declaration of Independence.” Jones uses Chesterton’s comment as a counterpoint to the “two mutually exclusive narratives emerging along party Read more…


The above image, courtesy of The Mark Twain Project at UC-Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, comes from an engraved greeting card Twain circulated in January, 1876. William Dean Howells, upon receiving one, described the frog as “luridly hopping along, and looking as if he had just got out of a pond of hellfire.” The card was designed by True Williams, who offered it gratis to Twain and his publisher as thanks for the sustained employment they had recently provided him. Williams’s illustrations in Adventures of Tom 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…

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