Spring “Trouble Begins” Lecture Series Set

The spring portion of the 2018-2019 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies features four lectures, with the first event set for Wednesday, May 8 at 7:00 p.m. in The Barn at Quarry Farm.  All four lectures are free and open to the public.

The Barn at Quarry Farm

The first lecture, “Writing About Sexuality: Mark Twain’s Private Work Made Public,” will be presented by Linda Morris from the University of California, Davis. After a relatively free-wheeling period in his life in the American West, Mark Twain courted and married a genteel young woman from a prominent Elmira family, and he became the paterfamilias of a thoroughly Victorian family of his own. His major published works were deemed suitable reading for young men and women alike, and he raised his three daughters in a strictly Victorian, protected, and proper mode. Later in his life, in work not intended for publication, he let loose with explicit sexual references and frank talk about both male and female sexuality. This talk will examine a range of the works in which sexuality plays a major role, the language and metaphors he used to express sexual topics, and the sometimes surprising attitudes the work reveals.

On Wednesday, May 15 at 7:00 p.m., the Series continues in Cowles Hall on the Elmira College campus with “‘Infinitely-Divided Stardust’: Mark Twain and Lawyer Talk,” presented by J. Mark Baggett of Samford University. Told by the New Orleans fortune teller Madame Caprell that he should have been a lawyer, Samuel Clemens dismissed the law as “too prosy and tiresome.” But his immersion in legal language and legal fictions betrayed him. This lecture will explore Twain’s burlesques from a legal perspective and trace their influence, particularly in the dramatic stagings of court trials that appear so often in his longer works. 

Cowles Hall on the Elmira College Campus

The Series continues in Cowles Hall on the Elmira College campus on Wednesday, May 22 at 7:00 p.m. with “Quarry Farm: Family Retreat with 1,631 Lightning Rods,” presented by Elise Johnson-Schmidt, AIA, preservation architect. In May 1869, Jervis Langdon purchases the land on Elmira’s east hill. It is there that he establishes the Langdon’s summer home, Quarry Farm – a place of respite which the family enjoys for 100 years. This lecture will focus on how Quarry Farm was used by the family and changes made to the house by Langdon family members. It will also discuss the lecturer’s interpretation of a story written during Clemens’ management of the farm – “The Lightning Rod Story” – a satire about dealing with contractors – which could be as true today as it was then.

The spring portion of the Series wraps up on Wednesday, May 29, in The Barn at Quarry Farm at 5:30 p.m. with a theatrical reading of “Waiting for Susy,” a one-act play by Bruce Michelson from the University of Illinois, followed by Michelson’s lecture at 7:00 p.m., “Mark Twain’s Homes and the Public Private Life.” When Sam Clemens was still young, a technological revolution in publishing — including breakthroughs in printing of pictures — provided new ways to fuel and gratify an unprecedented curiosity about the private lives of famous writers, and doing so became a lucrative sport. The Clemenses performed a “private” family life in some places, and tried to sustain the real thing in others — in an era before television, social media, paparazzi, data mining, and all the rest of it brought American personal privacy to an end.

About The Trouble Begins Lecture Series – In 1984, the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies initiated a lecture series, The Trouble Begins at Eight lecture series.  The title came from the handbill advertising Mark Twain’s October 2, 1866 lecture presented at Maguire’s Academy of Music in San Francisco. The first lectures were presented in 1985. By invitation, Mark Twain scholars present lectures 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. 

CMTS To Participate in Collections Assessment for Preservation Program

The Center for Mark Twain Studies announces that it is one of 79 institutions in the United States selected to participate in the Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) program

CAP helps museums improve the care of their collections by providing support for a conservation assessment of the museum’s collections and buildings. The museum will work with a team of preservation professionals to identify preventive conservation priorities. The final assessment report will help the museum prioritize its collections care efforts in the coming years.

The CAP program is administered by FAIC through a cooperative agreement with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal grant making agency that supports museums and libraries.

The CAP program will be an important part of a multi-year CMTS project entitled Master Plan for Interior Environmental Improvements for Quarry Farm and Its Collections. With guidance from Johnson-Schmidt & Associates, an architectural firm specializing in the restoration, preservation, and revitalization of historic structures, CMTS has identified improvements in the climate and fire-suppression systems within the main house of Quarry Farm as a high-priority preservation project.

The Quarry Farm Parlor

As a retreat for Mark Twain scholars who spend weeks at a time doing their research, writing, and scholarly endeavors, it is not only important for Quarry Farm to have systems that will serve and protect the collections, it must also function as a living facility where Mark Twain’s presence is understood and its occupants can function in the manner in which the Langdon family intended their gift to the Humanities to be utilized. This is a special environment for scholars of one of the most important American writers, and therefore these priorities need to be balanced.  Not only are the climate and fire-suppression systems involved in these two types of uses challenging to resolve, but equally important is the manner in which the systems are woven into Quarry Farm’s historic fabric. Limiting the impact of these systems on historic finishes will be an effort, as will the routes the systems will need to take to get to their destinations in order to condition the space throughout the house and conserve its collections. For these reasons, preservation and collections assessment specialists need to be hired to help CMTS address these very important concerns and priorities.

CMTS is in the middle of its Quarry Farm Legacy Preservation Campaign. This capital campaign is solely for the purpose addressing these specific preservation needs and is a part of the Master Plan for Interior Environmental Improvements for Quarry Farm and Its Collections. Groups and individuals who generously contribute will be honored with their names on a memorial plaque next to the one already gracing the entrance to Quarry Farm. This is truly a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity for community leaders to become a permanent part of the proud legacy of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, Quarry Farm, and Mark Twain. All interested participants should contact Dr. Joseph Lemak, Director of CMTS, at [email protected]

For more information about the Quarry Farm Legacy Preservation Campaign, here is Dr. Matt Seybold’s lecture from the kickoff event and Dr. Joe Lemak’s campaign appeal.

About FAIC – The Foundation for Advancement in Conservation saves cultural heritage for future generations, protecting it from decay and destruction. Learn more about FAIC at www.culturalheritage.org/foundation.

About IMLS – The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Mark Twain Forum Reviews: SeaWolf Press Mark Twain 100th Anniversary Collection by Mark Twain

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. 

Mark Twain 100th Anniversary Collection. By Mark Twain. Orinda, Calif.: SeaWolf Press, 2018. 10 titles to date. Paper, 6″ x 9″. $6.95 to $15.95 per vol.

Reviewed for the Mark Twain Forum by R. Kent Rasmussen

Recent decades have seen the publication of many facsimile reprints of Mark Twain books–both individual titles and large sets. The most ambitious of these reprints has been Oxford University Press’s 29-volume facsimile set of American first editions that were originally published during Mark Twain’s lifetime. First issued in uniform hardback volumes in 1996, the Oxford set was edited by Shelley Fisher Fishkin, who invited more than 60 noted authors and scholars contribute new introductions, afterwords, and other editorial notes to the books. Each volume contains photo-facsimile pages of its title’s first-edition text along with as many as 50 to 100 pages of completely new material that make the books a uniquely valuable resource. (For more on the Oxford Mark Twain, see my Forum review at <http://www.twainweb.net/reviews/omt1-rev.html>.

In 2010, Oxford reissued its Mark Twain set in a paperback edition. Around that same time, a company called the Bradford Exchange began issuing expensive, full-facsimile replicas of first editions on a subscription basis. It began with 15 titles, later adding 6 more with so little fanfare one might not even know they existed, were it not for their occasional appearance on eBay. By “full-facsimile,” I mean reprints that match original editions both inside and out in almost every detail, including physical size. The Oxford facsimiles differ in being issued in uniform-size volumes and in duplicating only the books’ textual pages, whose sizes were adjusted to fit the edition’s standard dimensions.

Other publishers had sold full-facsimile editions of selected Mark Twain titles before Bradford, but that company’s books carried facsimile reproduction to an even higher level by duplicating every physical aspect of each book–dimensions; paper; bindings; cover designs; embossing; and gilding. Indeed, the company carried duplication so far that its books don’t contain a single date or word identifying them as reprints–a fact that may tempt ignorant or unscrupulous dealers to try passing them off as genuine first editions.

Now, yet another ambitious reprint edition is coming out, and it is something quite different than earlier reprints. Last year, SeaWolf Press, a small company based in Orinda, California, began issuing Mark Twain reprints in what it calls the “Mark Twain 100th Anniversary Collection” (a curiously delayed allusion to the 2010 anniversary of the author’s 1910 death). SeaWolf plans to reprint about 45 titles, including several not in any previous uniform edition, such as Mark Twain’s (Burlesque) AutobiographyA True StoryPunch, Brothers, Punch!; and a number of post-1910 Harper first editions. The company has already published reprints of books by other 19th century authors, including Jules Verne and Robert Lewis Stevenson, as well as 50 Jack London titles–the last scarcely a surprise, incidentally, considering the Bay Area company’s name.

Sturdily bound paperback volumes sold primarily through Amazon.com, the SeaWolf books are manufactured by Amazon’s print-on-demand service, using acid-free and moderately heavy matte paper that has a nice feel. Like Oxford’s paper-bound edition, the SeaWolf volumes are uniform in size but somewhat larger. Each 6″ x 9″ volume is about a half-inch taller and an eighth-inch narrower than its Oxford counterpart and is also substantially thicker, despite having fewer pages. SeaWolf books also differ from the Oxford books in several other ways.

SeaWolf books resemble facsimile reprints in physical appearance but are not facsimiles. Each book has completely reset type and new page layouts designed to fit the set’s uniform dimensions. Resetting type to reprint books is not unusual, of course. What makes these books different is that their pages are designed to mimic those of the first editions. They use the same or very similar typefaces and contain all the original illustrations. SeaWolf’s success in emulating first editions is especially impressive in volumes such as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, which has numerous pages with text wrapped closely around irregularly shaped illustrations. I should also add that my cursory examination of the texts found no typesetting errors.

….continue reading R. Kent Rasmussen’s review on the Mark Twain Forum

Copyright © 2019 Mark Twain Forum

This review may not be published or redistributed in any medium without permission.

The Mark Twain Forum Review Editor is Barbara Schmidt.

Second Year Creative Writing Contest Focuses on Quarry Farm Fireplace

The Center for Mark Twain Studies is again sponsoring a creative writing contest for area students in grades 2-6, encouraging students to explore Mark Twain’s legacy in Elmira and the Southern Tier.  Submissions for the competition are due by April 19.

One of the winners of last year’s contest reading her story to her classmates in the exact same spot Mark Twain told stories to his daughters.

While staying at Quarry Farm, Mark Twain often encouraged his children to create and tell their own stories based off the tiles adorning the parlor fireplace.   The 24 tiles around the fireplace depict fables written by ancient Greek storyteller, Aesop, who utilized animals, such as crows, snakes, mice, and foxes, to illustrate moral lessons.

Students from schools within a 25-mile radius of Quarry Farm are encouraged to access the fireplace tiles on the CMTS website, marktwainstudies.org, and create their own stories based on the tile images.

Three winners from three different schools will be chosen by CMTS staff.  CMTS has received special permission to give the winners a personal tour inside Quarry Farm, normally only open to Twain Scholars.  The winning students will be able to read their story next to the Quarry Farm parlor fireplace, tour Quarry Farm, and enjoy Mark Twain’s favorite dessert: gingerbread, vanilla ice cream, and lemonade.

Submissions for the contest should be submitted by Friday, April 19, to the Center for Mark Twain Studies, Elmira College, 1 Park Place, Elmira, NY 14901.  Additional information, including a virtual tour of Quarry Farm, can be found online at marktwainstudies.org.

All the contest information and high-resolution pictures of the Quarry Farm fireplace tiles can be found at MarkTwainStudies.org.

About the Center for Mark Twain Studies –The Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies was founded in January 1983 with the gift of Quarry Farm to Elmira College by Jervis Langdon, the great-grand-nephew of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. The Center offers distinctive programs to foster and support Mark Twain scholarship and to strengthen the teaching of Mark Twain at all academic levels. The Center serves the Elmira College community and regional, national, and international students and scholars of Mark Twain. –

CFP: C19 Biennial Conference at Coral Gables, FL (April 2-5, 2020)

2020 Theme: Dissent

C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists seeks submissions for its sixth biennial conference, which will take place April 2-5, 2020 in Coral Gables, Florida, with the generous support of the University of Miami and Florida International University. We invite individual paper, panel, and roundtable proposals on literature and culture in and beyond the United States during the long nineteenth century.

The long nineteenth century was a time of political, social, and cultural volatility, marked by conflict, strife, discord, protest, and disagreement. It was an age of rebellion, riot, and revolution; it was an era in which social movements, such as women’s rights, labor rights, abolitionism, civil rights, Indigenous rights, land rights, anti-imperialism, and religious dissidence coincided with ideological revolt/s, such as communism, communitism, socialism, and spiritualism. It was an epoch of bodily dissent that incited and galvanized resistance to enforced and coerced gender, racial, class, and sexual norms. It was also a time in which literary and cultural formations expressly challenged artistic orthodoxy in favor of experiments in both content and form.

With this theme, we aim to inspire a broad consideration of varied forms of “dissent”: nonconformity to existing identities, institutions, policies, practices, and norms in the long nineteenth century. What constitutes “dissent” in this period? How do we think through genealogies of dissent–that is, the ways nineteenth-century dissent might or might not offer a way to frame contemporary circumstances and formations?

We also hope to engender discussions about dissent in scholarship and pedagogy. How might we challenge dominant or conventional theoretical and methodological approaches within nineteenth-century American literary and cultural studies? Do we need reformulations of what constitutes analysis, proper objects of study, disciplinary boundaries, and field formation? How might the particular historical and archival labor of nineteenth century American studies challenge the scholarly values of the twenty-first century university?

Lastly, how might we theorize divergences from dissent, such as accord, consensus, convention, and acceptance, or reactionary forms of dissent, such as nativism and revanchism? To what extent might dissent itself, so often framed as a form of negation, risk closing off intellectual and political possibilities in our work and in our classrooms? Are there limits to “critique”? In what ways might we productively dissent from dissent?

In addition to submissions related to our theme, we invite papers and panels on other topics, especially those engaging literary, cultural and historical perspectives on nineteenth century Florida and its location within the circum-Caribbean. We particularly encourage transhemispheric, transoceanic, and transnational approaches; presentations attending to migration, movement, and travel, and those examining the complex lives, afterlives and ecologies of settler colonialism, indigeneity, slavery and empire.

Format

C19 welcomes proposals for roundtables, workshops, dialogues, and innovative presentation formats, as well as traditional panels and individual paper submissions. We prefer that proposals with multiple participants reflect a diversity of institutional affiliation, academic rank, and disciplinary background. Please include at least four presenters on a panel, one of whom might be a respondent. All group proposals must leave time for discussion (each session is 90 minutes long). Individuals seeking potential collaborators may wish to use the C19 listserv, the discussion board on C19’s Facebook page, or Twitter, using the #C19Amlit hashtag or by tagging @C19Americanists.

C19: 2020 will once again feature a series of seminars which will provide participants the opportunity for a collaborative conversation around a particular topic. Each seminar will be capped at 15 participants and will be run by leaders with expertise in the topic. Typically, each participant will submit a five-page paper before the conference to be read in advance by the other participants; time in the seminar itself will be reserved for discussion. Seminar participants will be listed in the program. Participation as both a presenter and seminar participant will be allowed only as space permits. Leaders are chosen by the Program Committee. Topics and seminar leaders will be announced soon.

Conference participants are limited to one appearance on the program in a substantive role (presenter, roundtable participant, or respondent), and one appearance as a session organizer, chair, seminar participant, or speaker/facilitator on a professional support session. Please submit only one proposal for a substantive role.

Submissions will be due September 2, 2019. Detailed submission information on conference website will be available shortly.

CMTS Announces the Spring 2019 Trouble Begins Lecture Series

The Center for Mark Twain Studies is proud to announce the Spring 2019 Trouble Begins Lecture Series. This diverse, accomplished line-up is a testament to the rich potential of Mark Twain Studies. CMTS is honored to present and support these scholars. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Visit the “Trouble Begins Archives” for a downloadable recording of all these talks and other past lectures. You can also see past “Trouble Begins” programs and CMTS quadrennial conference and symposia programs.

In 1985, the 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 Francisco. The “Trouble Begins” Lecture Series is sponsored by the Michael J. Kiskis Memorial Fund. The “Trouble Begins” and the “Summer at The Park Church” Lecture Series are also made possible by the support of the Mark Twain Foundation and the Friends of the Center.

Wednesday, May 8 in The Barn at Quarry Farm 7 p.m.

“Writing About Sexuality: Mark Twain’s Private Work Made Public”

Linda Morris, University of California, Davis

After a relatively free-wheeling period in his life in the American West, Mark Twain courted and married a genteel young women from a prominent Elmira family, and he became the paterfamilias of a thoroughly Victorian family of his own. His major published works were deemed suitable reading for young men and women alike, and he raised his three daughters in a strictly Victorian, protected, and proper mode. Nevertheless, when speaking before all-male groups, or writing privately, he addressed sexual topics with frankness suffused with humor. Later in his life, in work not intended for publication, he let loose with explicit sexual references and frank talk about both male and female sexuality. This talk will examine a range of the works in which sexuality plays a major role, the language and metaphors he used to express sexual topics, and the sometimes surprising attitudes the work reveals.

Linda A. Morris is Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis. She has writ- ten extensively about women’s humor in 19th and 20th century America, including a book-length study on the writer Miriam Whitcher (“The Widow Bedott”), and essays on Mary Lasswell and Roz Chast. Her work on Mark Twain includes her book Gender Play in Mark Twain: Cross-Dressing and Transgression, and essays on Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, “Gender Bending as Child’s Play,” Aunt Sally Phelps in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and “Hellfire Hotchkiss.” She was the 2017 recipient of “The Olivia Langdon Clemens Award” by the Mark Twain Circle of America, and the 2018 recipient of “The Charlie Award” by the American Humor Studies Association.

Wednesday, May 15 in Cowles Hall on the Elmira College Campus

“‘Infinitely-Divided Stardust’: Mark Twain and Lawyer Talk”

J. Mark Baggett, Samford University
From the 1899 Harper & Brothers
 Edition of Puddn’Head Wilson

Told by the New Orleans fortune teller Madame Caprell that he should have been a lawyer, Samuel Clemens dismissed the law as “too prosy and tiresome.” But his immersion in legal language and legal fictions betrayed him. From the early days of his career, covering the Nevada Territorial legislature and reporting on the police and court beat in the Territorial Enterprise, he plied what he called the “trade language” of the law. His legal burlesques of that formative period, including the first use of the pseudonym “Mark Twain” in “Ye Sentimental Law Student,” show the emerging burlesque patterns that appear in his novels. These burlesques also parallel important 19th century movements in American law that democratized and simplified legalese. This lecture will explore these burlesques from a legal perspective and trace their influence, particularly in the dramatic stagings of court trials that appear so often in his longer works. Twain himself once pronounced that a great writer must have an “infinitely divided stardust,” a genius who understood humanity from the two essential disciplines: literature and the law.

Mark Baggett is Associate Professor of English and Law at Samford University and Cumberland School of Law. His recent research on Twain’s use of legal rhetoric is an outgrowth of his teaching law at Cumberland since 1987. He contributed articles on legal issues in the Mark Twain Encyclopedia and is working on a book-length project on Mark Twain and the law, building on interdisciplinary research on Twain’s broad appropriation of legal rhetoric.

Wednesday, May 22 in Cowles Hall on the Elmira College Campus

“Quarry Farm: Family Retreat with 1,631 Lightning Rods”

Elise Johnson-Schmidt, AIA, Preservation Architect
Quarry Farm in the 1880’s

In May 1869, Jervis Langdon purchases the land on Elmira’s east hill. It is there that he establishes the Langdon’s summer home, Quarry Farm – a place of respite which the family enjoys for 100 years. Sadly, Langdon dies shortly after its completion, but his oldest daughter, Susan Crane, inherits the house. She generously and joyously shares Quarry Farm with her sister, Olivia Clemens, Livy’s new husband, Samuel Clemens, and the Clemens children for the next twenty years. Sam and Livy embark on their “long European sojourn” in 1890 and do not return until 1895, which turns out to be Livy’s last stay. During a time of transition, before Susan and Theodore Crane begin their chapter of life at Quarry Farm, Sam Clemens is “running two house- holds – one up here on the farm & one in Buffalo…and Mr. and Mrs. Crane stay here with us, & we do have perfectly royal good times.” This lecture will focus on how Quarry Farm was used by the family and changes made to the house by Langdon family members. It will also discuss the lecturer’s interpretation of a story written during Clemens’ management of the farm – “The Lightning Rod Story” – a satire about dealing with contractors – which could be as true today as it was then.

Quarry Farm Today

Elise Johnson-Schmidt is a preservation architect with 35 years of experience, whose firm specializes in historic preservation. Her firm has undertaken over 200 revitalization and restoration projects. She was also formerly the Director of Market Street Restoration Agency. She previously worked on the restoration of Grand Central Terminal in NYC & Boston’s Trinity Church. She is a frequent lecturer across NYS on revitalizing historic buildings, and a (former) longtime member of NYS’s Board for Historic Preservation. Her firm is currently writing the Historic Structure Report for Quarry Farm.

Wednesday, May 29 in the Barn at Quarry Farm ***Two Events***

5:30 p.m. Theatrical Reading of Waiting For Susy

A one-act play by Bruce Michelson, University of Illinois

Waiting for Susy is a one-act comedy about a famous, momentous, historic encounter that never took place. The setting is the great square in front of Rouen Cathedral in France; the time is October of 1894. Sam Clemens and his daughter Susy, living with the rest of the family in nearby Étretat, have come to town shopping for night-gowns and cigars. With brushes and an easel, and parked comfortably on a stool in this plaza, a strange, round, bearded French gentleman is dabbing at a couple of his paintings. What happens next is entirely made up, and you can safely believe every word of it. (“Susy Clemens” photo courtesy of the Mark Twain House and Museum)

7:00 p.m. “Mark Twain’s Homes and the Public Private Life”

Bruce Michelson, University of Illinois

When Sam Clemens was still young, a technological revolution in publishing — including breakthroughs in printing of pictures — provided new ways to fuel and gratify an unprecedented curiosity about the private lives of famous writers, and doing so became a lucrative sport. Where they were born and where they resided; the byways they wandered for epiphanies or Deep Thoughts; where their spouses or their Lost Loves grew up or passed away – all of this and more became fair game for mass-market words and pictures. Over the course of Mark Twain’s life we can trace this cultural transformation, and see how Quarry Farm, the Hartford mansion, and other residences here and abroad figured in a long campaign by Sam and his family to live in this new limelight, and also to evade it. The Clemenses performed a “private” family life in some places, and tried to sustain the real thing in others — in an era before television, social media, paparazzi, data mining, and all the rest of it brought American personal privacy to an end.

The Clemens Family and Flash in Hartford
Photo courtesy of the Mark Twain House and Museum

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 one-act comedy about Sam Clemens, his daughter Susy, and a Mysterious Stranger in France

CMTS Partners with Community Arts of Elmira, Providing Studio Sessions for Local Artists

Mark Twain on the Quarry Farm Porch, 1903

Community Arts of Elmira is proud to present Clemens & The Pen, programming designed to catalyze the creation of artwork inspired by the writings of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, his life, and the life of the Clemens and Langdon families. 

Clemens & The Pen centers on creative expression.  The monthly gatherings at Community Arts of Elmira are open to the public and will consist of two parts: first. a brief discussion of selected work and themes related to Clemens’ writings and life; and second. self-guided Studio Sessions, time to read related material, write, sew, sketch, paint–create,” explained Clemens & The Pen originator Lynne Rusinko.  Participants will engage in self-directed, creative processes during the Studio Session, bringing their own materials, such a journals, laptops and art supplies.  Rusinko continued, “One focus will be social criticism, challenging participants to connect issues from the author’s writings to social justice movements of today, with the long-term goal of presenting their ideas to the community through their artwork.” 
 
Clemens & The Pen also fills a need in Elmira, Chemung County, and the region for individuals to engage with the iconic author in a new way that also expands community outreach and impact.  In partnership with Community Arts of Elmira, The Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies is increasing its connection to the local community.  


Dr. Joseph Lemak, Executive Director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, will collaborate with Community Arts of Elmira in selecting twenty participants from Clemens & The Pen who will have the opportunity to spend an afternoon on the Porch at Quarry Farm in a two-hour, self-guided Studio Session Saturday, June 29, 2019, 1:00-3:00pm.  In addition, on Saturday, November 30, 2019, 5-7pm, Community Arts of Elmira will host the opening reception of the Clemens & The Pen exhibition and reading, also in partnership with the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies.  

For additional Clemens & The Pen updates, visit its Facebook Event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/806638439676708/

CFP: Mark Twain Circle at SAMLA in Atlanta, GA (November 8-10, 2019)

South Atlantic Modern Language Association — NOVEMBER 8th – 10th, 2019
Atlanta, Georgia
Call for Papers

Power: Elements, Aspects, and Instances in Mark Twain Studies

The Mark Twain Circle invites papers for a panel at the SAMLA 2019 convention that analyze elements, aspects, and instances of power in Mark Twain’s works, including but not limited to his fiction, essays, or autobiography. This panel seeks papers that explore how power is presented in Twain’s works, who holds power, how it is maintained, how power is reinforced, challenged, subverted, or undermined. Other areas of interest include how power is determined or denied based on wealth, occupation, political advantages or disadvantages, gender, race, social status, or other factors, and how characters who lack power navigate within, around, or under powerful characters or institutions. Additional inquires might explore questions regarding the extent to which power contributes to a sense of personal, regional, or national identity, or whether language functions as an indication of power or powerlessness? Other inquiries regarding power are welcome as well.

Send 150-250 word abstracts (electronic submissions are welcome) by May 1st, 2019 to: 
Gretchen Martin
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise
1 College Avenue
Wise, VA 24293 [email protected]

CFP: Nineteenth Century American Forum of the MLA in Seattle, WA (January 9-12, 2020)

The Nineteenth Century American Forum is planning to sponsor three panels at MLA 2020 in Seattle. Please consider submitting an abstract for one of the CFPs listed below.

New Approaches to Reading (in) Nineteenth-Century America


How might scholars formulate new approaches to reading (in) the nineteenth century—especially in ways attuned to race, gender, sexuality, class, and disability. Send 250-word abstract and biography to [email protected] and [email protected]. Deadline for submissions: Friday, March 15, 2019

C19 Comparative Race and Indigeneity


Comparative and/or relational frameworks for analyzing race and indigeneity in connection with the 19th-century U.S. Send 250-word abstract and brief bio to [email protected] by March 15. Deadline for submissions: Friday, March 15, 2019

Confederate Monuments, Memory, and Memorials: The Uses and Abuses of the Nineteenth Century(co-sponsored with LLC Southern United States)

In light of the terrorist events that took place in Charlottesville, VA on August 11-12, 2017, medievalists and classicists were very publicly forced to address the white supremacist (mis)uses of their historical eras. Historians of the US Civil War and the US Civil Rights Movement also weighed in on everything from Lost Cause paraphernalia to the removal of Confederate monuments around the country.  Literary specialists, however, have not as readily been called upon to enter the conversation.  Given that the popular resurgence of confederate idealization and romanticization deeply involves nineteenth-century US literary cultures, this panel seeks expert commentary on this topic from those who specialize in the postbellum period, and especially those who study African American literatures and/or literatures of the southern United States. Panelists might comment upon the relationship between literary representations of the US Civil
War and the installation of confederate monuments, the relationship between Reconstruction and Confederate memory, and/or how to responsibly teach the Confederacy in US literature courses. Please send 250—word abstract and brief bio to Marlene Daut ([email protected]) and Jarvis McInnis ([email protected]). Deadline for submissions: Friday, March 15, 2019

CFP: Mark Twain Circle at MLA in Seattle, WA (January 9-12, 2020)

“Mark Twain and Globalism”

Illustration from The Innocents Abroad; or, The New Pilgrim’s Progress,
American Publishing Company, 1869.

Although Mark Twain is often characterized as a quintessentially American writer, he is almost as frequently noted as a citizen of the world. The Mark Twain Circle seeks proposals for papers that investigate Twain’s writings in a transnational context, interpreting representations of the American and the other in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, international politics, and cultural contact.

MLA requires that presenters be members of MLA at the time of the panel’s submission to the program. We also encourage panelists to become members of the Mark Twain Circle. We are especially eager to receive submissions from emerging scholars and members of underrepresented groups. 

Send proposals to Larry Howe, President of the Mark Twain Circle:  [email protected]
Deadline:  March 15, 2019