The Mark Twain Annual and the Center for Mark Twain Studies commemorated the sesquicentennial of Roughing It. The Annual will publish a special issue devoted to Mark Twain and the West in 2022. The Center for Mark Twain Studies held a Quarry Farm Symposium in honor of Twain’s famous book in 2021. Both the publication and the symposium examine Twain’s relationship to all aspects of the American West.
This broad scope allows for critical examinations of Twain’s work as:
- Western regionalist writing
- Twain and indigenous peoples
- Twain and immigrant populations
- Commentary on the American frontier
- Twain and domestic travel
- Twain’s Western journalism
- The West as a shaping force on his development as an artist
- The circle of writers Twain encountered out West and their continued relationship
- Twain and contemporary Western writers
While Twain and the West has been the subject of numerous studies since the early twentieth century, the special issue and associated symposium seek to explore what in recent years has become somewhat forgotten territory in Twain’s fictive and nonfictive writings.
Includes abstracts, images, and academic bios
KEYNOTE ADDRESS AND PAPER SESSIONS
Bruce Michelson, “Mercurial Texts and Turbulent Times”
Session One: Comparative Authors
Dwayne Eutsey, “‘Thick as Thieves’: Mark Twain and The West’s Spiritual Frontiers”
B.Scott Holmes, “Roughing It from Missouri to Nevada Territory, The Journeys of Samuel L. Clemens and Richard F. Burton”
Jeanne Campbell Reesman, “The Mountain Meadows Massacre, as Told by Mark Twain and Jack London”
James E. Caron, “Mark Twain’s Rival Washoe Correspondents: William Wright and J.Ross Browne”
Session Two: Competing Contexts
Todd Nathan Thompson, “‘WHY WE SHOULD ANNEX’: Reprints and Repercussions of Twain’s New York Tribune Letters on Hawai’i”
Blake Bronson-Bartlett, “The Wild Traces of Calaveras in Notebook IV”
Matt Seybold, “The Mail-Bag Bed of Empire: Roughing It & The Gossamer Network”
Kerry Driscoll, “Mark Twain’s Masculinist Fantasy of The West”
Session Three: Contemporary Influences
Christopher Conway, “Postwestern Crossings in Phong Nguyen’s The Adventures of Joe Harper (2016) and Robert Coover’s Huck Out West (2017)”
Myrial Holbrook, “The Terra Comica between Mark Twain and Sherman Alexie”
Session Four: Insult, Irony, and Satire
Sarah Fredericks, “Thumbing the Nose and Maligning the Turnip: Mark Twain’s Western Rhetoric of Insults”
Alex Trimble Young, “‘The Vigorous New Vernacular’: The ‘Goshoot’ Episode and the Politics of Irony in Roughing It“
Andrew Hebard, “Corruption and Reform in Mark Twain’s West”
Session Five: Contextualizing Landscapes
James Wharton Leonard, “Mark Twain’s Ambivalent Encounter with The Western Landscape”
Jeffrey Melton, “Nature and Mobility in Mark Twain’s Roughing It“
Joseph Csicsila is Professor of English at Eastern Michigan University. He is author of Canons by Consensus: Critical Trends and American Literature Anthologies (2004), coauthor of Heretical Fictions: Religion in the Literature of Mark Twain (2010), and co-editor of Centenary Reflections on Mark Twain’s No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger (2009). He currently serves as associate editor of The Mark Twain Annual.
Ben Click is a Professor of English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Director of the Writing & Speaking Center, Director of the Twain Lecture Series on American Humor Culture, and the Editor of The Mark Twain Annual. With Larry Howe and Jim Caron, he published Refocusing Chaplin: A Screen Icon in Critical Contexts (Scarecrow, 2013). He has given numerous lectures and scholarly papers on Mark Twain, and published articles and book chapters on the teaching of writing and writing assessment. His current research explores the rhetorical effects of silence in the works of Mark Twain.
Bruce Michelson is the author of Mark Twain on the Loose and Printer’s Devil: Mark Twain and the American Publishing Revolution, as well as many articles and book chapters about Mark Twain and other writers. He is Professor Emeritus of American Literature at the University of Illinois, and a past president of the Mark Twain Circle of America and The American Humor Studies Association. A Contributing Editor at Studies in American Humor, he is also a Fulbright Ambassador, having received two fellowships from the Fulbright Program. His most recent work includes a translation of George Clemenceau’s writings on Claude Monet and the fine arts, and A Mark Twain Quartet, four one-act comedies about the family life of Sam Clemens.
Blake Bronson-Bartlett is associate editor at the Mark Twain Papers and Project, UC, Berkeley. Previously, he taught American literature at Technical University of Dortmund and University of Iowa. His research has appeared in Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, ESQ, J19, Poe Studies, American Literature, and Mark Twain Annual. Other projects include his co-translation (with Robert Fernandez) of the poems and manuscripts of Stéphane Mallarmé (Azure, Wesleyan UP 2015) and a digital resource on Poe editor Thomas Ollive Mabbott, Mabbott Poe (mabbottpoe.org).
James E. Caron retired as Professor of English at the University of Hawaiʽi, Mānoa, where he taught American literature for thirty-six years. He has published articles on satire, the tall tale, antebellum comic writers, laughter and evolution, Mark Twain, George Washington Harris, Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Faulkner, Charlie Chaplin, Hunter S. Thompson, and Bill Watterson. In addition, he has published Mark Twain, Unsanctified Newspaper Reporter (2008) and co-edited a collection of essays on Charlie Chaplin, entitled Refocusing Chaplin: A Screen Icon in Critical Contexts (2013). His new book, The Poetics of Satire: Postmodern Truthiness and the Comic Public Sphere, was published May 2021 from Penn State University Press. He is the former president of the American Humor Studies Association and senior associate editor of its journal, Studies in American Humor.
Christopher Conway is Professor of Modern Languages at The University of Texas at Arlington. His publications include the books Nineteenth-Century Spanish America: A Cultural History (Vanderbilt University Press, 2015) and Heroes of the Borderlands: The Western in Mexican Film, Comics, and Music (University of New Mexico Press 2019), as well as the edited volume The U.S.-Mexican War: A Binational Reader (Hackett Publishing 2010). In the Spring of 2022, the University of Nebraska Press Postwestern Horizons series will be publishing a book coedited by him and Antoinette Sol about global comic book Westerns. Conway is currently reading and writing about American literary Westerns, and American and international Western comics.
Kerry Driscoll is an Associate Editor at the Mark Twain Papers and Project (University of California, Berkeley). She is Professor of English, Emerita at the University of St. Joseph (West Hartford, CT). Her publications include Mark Twain among the Indians and Other Indigenous Peoples (University of California Press, 2018); “Race and Ethnicity: Native Americans” in Mark Twain in Context (Cambridge UP, 2020); “Mark Twain’s Music Box: Livy, Cosmopolitanism, and the Commodity Aesthetic” in Cosmopolitan Twain (U. Missouri Press, 2008); and numerous other essays on Mark Twain. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mark Twain House and Museum, a member of the editorial board of Mark Twain Annual, and past president of the Mark Twain Circle of America.
Since completing his master’s thesis on Mark Twain’s religious views (Georgetown University, 1997), Dwayne Eutsey has established himself as an independent scholar on the subject. He has published numerous articles, lectured at academic conferences and in public venues, and is currently writing a book re-examining Twain’s complicated religious views, “There is No Humor in Heaven”: Mark Twain and the Religious Liberalism of His Times. Dwayne is a full-time writer/editor with a non-profit company and lives with his wife and family in Easton, MD. He has also co-authored The Abide Guide: Living Like Lebowski (2011), a popular fan book among Big Lebowski enthusiasts worldwide.
Sarah Fredericks earned a Ph.D from the University of Arizona and a B.A. and M.A. from Auburn University at Montgomery, where she works as a writing consultant. Her publications on Twain include “Playing at Work and Working at Play in Mark Twain’s Writing,” co-authored with Alan Gribben, in Examining the Power of Children’s Play in Literature (2018); “‘Pow-wows of Cussing’: Profanity and Euphemistic Variants in Huckleberry Finn” in Critical Insights: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (2017); and “The Profane Twain: His Personal and Literary Cursing” in the Mark Twain Journal (2011). She edited Critical Insights: Lord of the Flies (2017). She has published on such various authors as Maya Angelou, Edith Wharton, and Jane Austen and has contributed to volumes on Feminism, LGBTQ literature, and the American novel. She is currently writing a book on Mark Twain’s anger.
Andrew Hebard is an Associate Professor of English at Miami University of Ohio, working in the field of late nineteenth century American literature. He has published articles in journals including American Quarterly; Law, Culture, and the Humanities; African American Review, and Arizona Quarterly, and has a chapter on science and aesthetics in the Oxford Handbook of American Literary Realism (2019). His book, The Poetics of Sovereignty in American Literature, 1885-1910 (Cambridge, 2013) examines how American literature conventionalized legal forms of sovereignty and administration. His current book project examines the relationship between literary aesthetics and corruption in the Progressive Era state.
Myrial Holbrook is an English PhD student and Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford University, where she specializes in nineteenth century transatlantic literature. As a Marshall Scholar she studied at the University of Cambridge for an MPhil in Education (Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature) and the University of East Anglia for an MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction). She graduated from Princeton University with an A.B. in Comparative Literature, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
B. Scott Holmes is Mark Twain aficionado and literary dilettante. He has degrees in Geography from California State University, Northridge. He was a professional cartographer/ remote sensing analyst for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He was also a database application programmer and web site developer. His involvement with Mark Twain is not “professional” but entirely for personal satisfaction and sharing with interested others. This includes the creation of several hundred YouTube videos with narrations from the works of Mark Twain, and the development of the website “Twain’s Geography”.
James Wharton Leonard received his PhD from Tufts University in the Fall of 2017 with a specialty in 19th/20th American Literature, and is currently an Instructor of English at The Citadel. His dissertation and current book project examines relationships between taxonomic discourse and American national identity and focuses on the works of Mark Twain, Djuna Barnes, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Cormac McCarthy. He has published and/or presented on Twain, McCarthy, Monica Ali, John Updike, Malcolm Lowry, D. H. Lawrence, and James Joyce.
Jeffrey Melton is Professor of American Studies at the University of Alabama. He is author of Mark Twain, Travel Books, and Tourism: The Tide of a Great Popular Movement (2002) and co-editor of Mark Twain on the Move: A Travel Reader (2009). He has published articles on Mark Twain, humor, and travel writing in Studies in American Humor, South Atlantic Review, Studies in Travel Writing, and the Mark Twain Journal, among others. He has contributed essays to Mark Twain in Context, Mark Twain’s Geographical Imagination, and A Companion to Mark Twain. He is past President of the American Humor Studies Association and co-founder of the Society for American Travel Writing.
Jeanne Campbell Reesman is Professor of English and Jack and Laura Richmond Endowed Faculty Fellow in American Literature, University of Texas at San Antonio, where she has served since 1986. She is former Division Director of English, Classics, Philosophy & Communication and former Graduate Dean as well as Director of the Ph.D. in English with emphasis in Latinx Studies, now a 20-year-old award-winning program. She is devoted to her diverse and exciting students and has taught numerous Twain courses or comparative courses with another author and Twain. In Spring 2021 she taught a new course, “Reading Mark Twain Post-Black Lives Matter.” She has been the recipient of two U. S. Fulbright Professorships, in Thessaloniki, Greece, and Aix-en-Provence, France. Reesman edited Vol. C. 7th and 8th edition of the Norton Anthology of American Literature and is a co-author of Oxford’s 6th edition of A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. She is the author of numerous books on American literature including Jack London, Photographer (2010) and Jack London’s Racial Lives (2009), as well as a number of articles on Twain. Many of these essays reflect her book in-progress, to be published by the U of Georgia P, is Mark Twain Vs. God: The Story of a Relationship.
Matt Seybold is Associate Professor of American Literature & Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, as well as scholar-in-residence at the Center For Mark Twain Studies, editor of MarkTwainStudies.org, and host of The American Vandal Podcast. He also co-edited the Routledge Companion To Literature & Economics (2018) and a 2019 special issue of American Literary History on “Economics and American Literary Studies in the New Gilded Age.” Other recent work on Twain appears in American Literary Realism, Los Angeles Review of Books, Mark Twain Annual, and at MarkTwainStudies.org.
Todd Nathan Thompson is Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is also Treasurer-Secretary of the American Humor Studies Association. Todd is author of The National Joker: Abraham Lincoln and the Politics of Satire (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015). His work on political satire and pre-1900 American literature has also appeared in Scholarly Editing, Early American Literature, ESQ, Nineteenth-Century Prose, Journal of American Culture, Teaching American Literature, and elsewhere. He currently is at work on a book project entitled Savage Laughter: Nineteenth-Century American Humor and the Pacific, 1840-1880.
Alex Trimble Young is an Honors Faculty Fellow at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. He received his PhD in English at the University of Southern California in 2015. His recent work on transnational settler colonialism and the culture of the US West can be found in journals including History of the Present, Theory & Event, Social Text, and Western American Literature. His first monograph, The Frontiers of Dissent: the Settler Colonial Imaginary in US Literature after 1945 is forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press.