CFP: Twain and The Tall Tale (Special Issue of “Quarterly”)

The scholarly journal Quarterly, published by the Book Club of California, is seeking several brief (1,000- to 2500-word) essays on any aspect of the American tall tale, as developed by Twain or others.

Possible topics: Twain and the oral narrative tradition in America; how pioneering Western newspapers contributed to the genre of the tall tale; how the theme and structure of the tall tale work within a Twain short story or novel; etc.

Due date: October 1, 2020. Publication: Spring 2021.

Please contact Book Club of California Vice President and Quarterly guest editor Gail Jones at [email protected].

Deadline for "First Book Institute" Applications Coming Soon

The 2020 First Book Institute

May 31-June 6, 2020

Hosted by the Center for American Literary Studies (CALS) at Pennsylvania State University


  • Sean X. Goudie, Director of the Center for American Literary Studies and Winner of the MLA Prize for a First Book
  • Priscilla Wald, R. Florence Brinkley Professor of English and Women’s Studies, Duke University, and Co-Editor of American Literature

The stakes of successful publishing by early career professors are more urgent than ever given the current state of higher education promotion and publishing.  Responding to a glaring need in the field, the First Book Institute—now in its seventh year—features workshops and presentations led by institute faculty aimed at assisting participants in transforming their book projects into ones that promise to make the most significant impact possible on the field and thus land them a publishing contract with a top university press.  Eight successful applicants will be awarded $1500 stipends to defray the costs of travel and lodging. 

Applications to the First Book Institute are invited from scholars working in any area or time period of American literary studies who hold a PhD and are in the process of writing their first book (whether a revised and expanded dissertation or other project).  Applicants should not have negotiated a formal agreement of any kind with a press to publish their manuscript.  

Electronic applications, due by February 10, 2020, should include the following:

  • Application letter describing the project and anticipated timeline for completion
  • C. V.
  • Project abstract, including chapter summaries
  • Introduction or sample chapter

Please send all application materials in a single PDF file (and any queries) to [email protected].

For more information about the First Book Institute, including video testimony about the inaugural First Book Institute from the participants and co-directors, please see:

CFP: American Literature Society at ALA Conference in San Diego, CA (May 21-24, 2020)

The American Literature Society invites abstracts (of no more than 250 words) for two panels at the annual conference of the American Literature Association (

Please note the deadline of January 27, 2020.

Futurisms: Survival Speculation in American Literature

Inspired by the reality of environmental and climate changes, im/migration patterns, and the predictable divisiveness of our political climate, this panel theme invites papers that explore the margins, limits and fissures within and between dystopias and utopias, aliens and empires, technologies and humans to examine how authors represent human survival in fantastic spaces. How do established and new authors use texts to speculate about American (and global) futures? The Society is particularly interested in papers that use contemporary interdisciplinary theories and approaches (posthumanism, transhumanism, ecofeminist, etc.) for reading complex fantastic identities and spaces.

Some possible paper topics/themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Asian American futurisms
  • Black futurisms
  • Citizenships, Community formations, and belonging
  • Environmental change, control, manipulation
  • Future anthropomorphisms and challenges of technology
  • Indigenous futurisms
  • Latinx futurisms
  • Love, gender, and relationships
  • Religion, the sacred, folklore and/or mythologies of transcendence
  • Representations of food and sustenance
  • The fantastic in contemporary children’s literature
  • Utopic and dystopic intersections with race, gender, and class

Please send abstracts to Helane Androne ([email protected]) no later than January 27, 2020. Presenters must be members of the American Literature Society by the time of the conference. Information about the Society and how to join can be found at:

Teaching Difficult in Difficult Times

While we know these are “difficult times,” “difficult teaching” points to how we navigate this sociopolitical climate while still practicing abolitionist teaching in the classroom. The roundtable will focus on a number of themes including (but not limited to:) GenZ and/or generational tensions in the classroom; the politics of teaching during this particular election cycle; literature, censorship, and the “N” word; trigger warnings; how we negotiate multiple categories of identity across gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, class, and/or disability by us as educators and for our students; and ultimately, the sharing of active learning strategies.

Since we all teach seemingly “difficult” subjects at our varied institutions (e.g., histories of slavery, im/migration, rising nationalism, and queer theory, to name only a few), the overall vision of this roundtable is to bring together diverse, interdisciplinary teacher/learners who agree that our students’ interests, technologies, and/or identities are not “a problem” to be solved, but rather, an opportunity for a new vision of social justice both in and beyond the classroom.

Please send abstracts for roundtable contributions to Alisha Gaines ([email protected]) no later than January 27, 2020. Presenters must be members of the American Literature Society by the time of the conference. Information about the Society and how to join can be found at:

CFP: Mark Twain Circle at MLA Conference in Toronto, Canada (January 7-10, 2021)

The Mark Twain Circle is accepting proposals for a panel at MLA 2021 in Toronto. 

The panel topic is “Gender/Power/Twain”.

The year 2020 saw the centennials of both woman suffrage in the U.S. and the canonization of Joan of Arc in the Catholic world. In recognition of those events, the Mark Twain Circle solicits papers for a session on Mark Twain and political power, broadly defined as an individual’s ability to effectively participate in her or his governing structures. How did Twain see women fitting into the American political structure? How did he portray Joan’s relationship to the ruling structures in his Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte?  What were his own relationships to the various power structures that enmeshed him? And thinking broadly, how did he envision political power across time and place? We welcome proposals tackling these and related topics for our 2021 MLA session in Toronto.

Proposals (300-500 words, please include a short cv) are due no later than March 16, 2020.  Please send to Susan K. Harris, address: [email protected]​  We are especially interested in proposals from emerging scholars and individuals from underrepresented groups. Graduate students selected to present may apply for the Louis Budd Travel Grant sponsored by the MTC.  Papers given at MTC sessions are often sought for development and publication in the journal Mark Twain Annual.

CFP: Mark Twain Circle at ALA Conference in San Diego, CA (May 21-24, 2020)

Mark Twain Circle of America at the 2020 American Literature Association Conference

CFP Mark Twain Circle of America for ALA 2020, San Diego, May 21-24, 2020

Title: “Mark Twain Reading/Reading Mark Twain”

Mark Twain was an avid—and participatory—reader, combing through texts with pencil in hand, marking and annotating as he went. His characters read, too–and they leave evidence of their reading in their dialogue and their own writings.  Furthermore, Twain’s own readers show the impact of his writings in the plots, characters, and satirical episodes written in Twain’s wake.  The MTC call for proposals for the 2020 ALA conference focuses on reading broadly defined, including–but not limited to–what, how, and where Twain read, the influence of his reading on his writings, and the impact of Twain’s own works on subsequent writers.

We enthusiastically encourage junior and emerging scholars to present their work.  Graduate students chosen to present may apply for a grant from Mark Twain Circle’s Louis Budd Travel Fund to help defray some of the costs of attending the conference.

While we seek submissions without restriction, all presenters must be active members of the Mark Twain Circle at the time of the conference (information about membership is available at our website

Presentations sponsored by the Mark Twain Circle are often developed into articles that appear in the Mark Twain Annual, published by Penn State University Press.

Send proposals (400 words or fewer) by January 15, 2020 to Larry Howe, president of the Mark Twain Circle ([email protected]).

CFP: American Humor Studies at ALA Conference in San Diego, CA (May 21-24, 2020)

American Humor Studies Association at the 2020 American Literature Association Conference

AHSA is currently calling for abstracts for two panels:

Panel #1 – The American Humor Studies Association seeks abstracts for a session titled “Take my husband … please: Humor and the Home”*for the American Literature Association annual conference in San Diego, Calif., May 21-24, 2020.

AHSA welcomes submissions that explore literary, visual, and performative examples of how American humor has been deployed to critique, analyze, and respond to life in the private sphere: from the physical home, to family life, to sexuality. Abstracts may propose analyses of specific texts and images, from any time frame or medium, including biography, political cartoons, social media, films, plays, television, and stand-up comedy.

Please email a brief CV and 300-word abstract (and please indicate any audio/visual needs) by December 16, 2019 to Teresa Prados-Torreira ([email protected]) using “Humor and the Home” as the subject line. All panelists will need to be current members of AHS

Panel #2 – The American Humor Studies Association seeks abstracts for an “Open-Topic” session for the American Literature Association annual conference in San Diego, May
21-24, 2020.

AHSA encourages submissions on any topic related to American humor for this session.

Please email a brief CV and 300-word abstract (and please indicate any audio/visual needs) by December 16, 2019 to Teresa Prados-Torreira ([email protected]) using “Open Topic Panel” as the subject line. All panelists will need to be current members of AHSA.

CFP: American Humor Studies Association in Austin, TX (June 18-20, 2020)

American Humor Studies Association

The Comedy and Humor Studies SIG of SCMS


“Comedy/Humor” will be held on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin from June 18-20, 2020. The conference will feature paper panels and roundtables on all aspects of American humor, American comedy, and all thing and topics in between.

Please send proposals to [email protected] by February 3, 2020. Notifications will be sent by March 20. Please feel free to contact the conference organizers with any questions at [email protected].

PAPERS: Proposals for paper presentations of 15-17 minutes should consist of a 250-word proposal and A/V requests. 

ROUNDTABLES: Proposals for organized roundtables of 8-10 minute statements from each participant with significant time for discussion.  Include an overview of 100  words for the overall theme, a brief description of each presenter’s topic, a proposed Chair (not required), and A/V requests. 

NOTE: you may participate in one roundtable and give one paper.  

WORKS IN PROGRESS: Participant will submit a working draft of a book chapter or journal article one month before the conference for posting on conference website.  Participants will sign up to read and discuss work in progress during a lunch or breakfast session, with food provided. 

Note: you may submit a “Works in Progress” proposal and a paper or roundtable proposal, but the topics should be different.

ARTISTIC PERFORMANCES: We are willing to consider approaches to humor studies that incorporate non-traditional modes.  We are also willing to facilitate a performance or screening to encourage discussion.  Email with questions.

We welcome proposals for paper presentations on any topic related to American humor and/or American comedy, broadly conceived. Scholars across the humanities are invited to present research on any of the following topics (or others related to humor, comedy, laughter, etc., etc.):

  • the relationship between comedy and humor as conceptual categories, along with all other related questions of theory and terminology 
  • comedy in all its forms (TV, film, stand-up, podcasts, sketch, improv,    theater, improv, etc.)
  •  literary humor (novels, tales, sketches, poetry, children’s books, YA, science fiction, magazines, etc. from all times and places)
  • visual humor, comics, and graphic narratives
  • podcasts, internet humor, memes, and other new media
  • humor and gender, race, sexuality, class, religion, etc.
  • satire, ridicule, parody, wit and other forms of humor
  • humor in “serious” contexts or works
  • humor in regional, national, transnational, international, and other spatial contexts 

We especially welcome proposals from scholars of color, junior scholars, and independent scholars. Graduate students attending the conference will be eligible for “Constance Rourke Travel Grant” to assist with travel funds. We highly encourage scholars to contribute to this fund.  See the conference website for more information.

Attendees must be (or become) a member of the American Humor Studies Association. Presenters will be highly encouraged to submit article-length versions of their work for possible publication in Studies in American Humor, a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Humor Studies Association since 1974 and in conjunction with the Penn State University Press since 2015.  

The conference registration fee will be $40 for graduate students, adjunct faculty, and independent scholars, and $75 for tenure-track faculty members. 

British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 4th Biennial Symposium (December 16-17, 2019)

Registration is now open for the conference below, and the discounted rate ends on October 1st. BrANCA is able to offer a number of travel bursaries to graduate students and independent scholars. Those interested in applying for one of these should write to [email protected] for more information by October 1st.

Access to the registration page and a draft program can be found here:

Scaling the Nineteenth Century: British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 4th Biennial Symposium

The concept of the Anthropocene, with its recasting of human culture as part of much vaster realm of geological and climatological processes, has recently prompted – in the words of Mark McGurl – “the appearance of the problem of scale in modern literary history.” But over the past decade there have also been many other spurs for literary scholars to address many other problems of scale: from the challenges presented by digitization’s expansion of the accessible archive, to the re-conceptualizations demanded by a move away from the region and the nation to the Atlantic and the Oceanic, to the controversies engendered by the contest between old and new hermeneutical dispositions such as symptomatic and surface reading. Meanwhile, whatever side they have taken in these debates, all literary scholars in universities have been exposed to the growing dominance of scale, as neoliberal metrics continue to infiltrate teaching, research and administration.

These questions and concerns are not restricted to one period or one location, but nonetheless nineteenth-century America is a particularly productive time and place to take the measure of the “problem of scale.” The U.S. in the long nineteenth century was a key node, for example, in: the social, political and economic networks that fuelled industrialism’s growing dominance over nature; the growth of print and other communicative technologies into mass media; the rise of modern imperialism; and the ascendance of secular hermeneutics. This symposium offers a rich variety of historical and methodological interpretations of these (re-)scalings. 

CFP: Panel on “Afterlives of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” at NeMLA 2020 in Boston, MA (March 5-8, 2020)

Michael Torregrossa will chair a panel on the “Afterlives of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” at the 51st Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association in Boston from March 5-8, 2020.

Writer Mark Twain and illustrator Daniel Carter Beard’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889) has had a long history of adaptation in popular culture, but the full scope of its reception remains untold. There are, of course, the obvious texts, both in print and on film, that merely retell the story. Of these, more work is needed on the illustrative tradition. Along with retellings, there are also a small number of works that continue Connecticut Yankee. These appear entirely unknown to Twainians but offer a unique approach to the author’s legacy. More importantly, Connecticut Yankee itself or its story as mediated through one of its many retellings has also stimulated new narratives detached from Twain and Beard’s telling that recast characters and restage events. Also relatively unknown by scholars of the novel, these materials can be found throughout modern popular culture, and, although Elizabeth S. Sklar somewhat derisibly labels these as “spinoffs and ripoffs” of the novel, they are of value (as she suggests) and perhaps more so than the retellings because such items serve as the base for an extensive corpus of transformations of the novel that send various protagonists, all characters more familiar to contemporary readers and viewers than Twain’s Hank Morgan, into the medieval past and set a common pattern for time travel stories. In the end, this session will offer a broad view of adaptations of the Connecticut Yankee story to situate both retellings and the lesser known and/or hitherto unknown continuations and recastings into a new continuum to offer a more complete picture of the novel’s effect on popular culture and provide fresh insight into the various ways that the producers responsible for these re-imaginings have appropriated the story and its time-travel motif for their own purposes.

This session will offer a broad view of adaptations of the Connecticut Yankee story to situate both retellings and the lesser known and/or hitherto unknown continuations and recastings of the story into a new continuum to offer a more complete picture of the novel’s effect on popular culture.

More information about NeMLA and the convention can be found here. Abstracts should be submitted here.

Call For Papers: Special “Global Huck” Forum in Journal of Transnational American Studies

Global Huck: Mapping the Cultural Work of Translations of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Editors: Shelley Fisher Fishkin (Stanford University, USA), Ronald Jenn (Université de Lille, France), Selina Lai-Henderson (Duke Kunshan University, China), Tsuyoshi Ishihara (University of Tokyo, Japan), Holger Kersten (University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany)

This Special Forum will explore the cultural work done by translations of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn around the world. It will examine how a range of social, cultural, political, and historical contexts—as well as the agendas of translators and publishers and the expectations of readers—have shaped responses to the novel outside of the US from its publication to the present.  As of 2019, the novel has been translated into at least sixty-three languages, with multiple editions in many languages.

We particularly welcome contributions in the following areas (but are open to many others):

§  How specific translations handle Twain’s social critique

§  What translators’ and editors’ omissions reveal about their social and political anxieties and blind spots

§  How translations intervene in cultural conversations about childhood, education, authority, race, slavery, morality, religion, language politics, dialect, etc., in various countries at various moments in time

§  Comparative discussions of the illustrations

§  How translators deal with offensive racial epithets

§  The influence of translations of Huckleberry Finn on later writers in particular countries

§  How translations shape attitudes about the US around the world

§  How Twain’s humor translates

§  Adaptations and uses of the novel in films, anime, music, advertising, popular culture, etc.

Essays may be comparative in nature, or may focus on a particular translation. We also welcome theoretical translation studies essays on transnational issues rooted in translations of Huckleberry Finn; and short essays by translators on the challenges of translating particular passages (such as Pap’s “Call this a govment” rant in Chapter 6 and Huck’s battle with his conscience ending with “All right then, I’ll go to hell!” in Chapter 31).

While we are open to studies of the racial politics of the novel in a broad range of global contexts, we particularly welcome investigations of this topic in

·      the Afrikaans translation by famous anti-apartheid writer André Brink (Capetown. 1963)

·       the Portuguese translation by celebrated São Tomé-born Afro-Portuguese poet José Tenreiro (Lisbon,1973

We also welcome examinations of the cultural politics of neglected translations including

·      the Yiddish translation published in Kiev in 1929

·      Vietnamese versions published in Hanoi and Saigon in the 1960s

·      translations in languages of the former Soviet Union (Armenian, Kazakh, Kirghiz, Tatar, and Turkmen) and languages of the Baltic countries (Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian)

·      translations into languages of the India sub-continent (Assamese, Bengali, Gujarat, Hindi, and Telugu)

Note: Editors may be able to help with locating particular translations. Just write to us to enquire. [[email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>]

Proposals of up to 400 words should be sent to [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]> along with a short bio of the author. We welcome traditional articles of 4,000 to 6,000 words or micro-essays of 1,200 words.

Proposals are due by January 1st, 2020

Notification of acceptance by February 1st, 2020

Final essays due June 15th, 2020

Publication will be contingent on acceptance by peer-reviewers and the JTAS editorial board. Essays should be in English. They may include direct quotations in other languages alongside English translations of those quotations.

The first book-length study of Mark Twain published anywhere came out in Paris in 1884, penned by French critic Henry Gauthier-Villard. Scholars who have examined Mark Twain’s international appeal include Archibald Henderson (1911), Roger Asselineau (1954), Howard Baetzhold (1970), Robert M. Rodney (1982), Carl Dolmetsch (1993), Holger Kersten (1993, 1999, 2005), Shelley Fisher Fishkin (1997, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2019), Raphaele Berthele (2000), Judith Lavoie (2002), Tsuyoshi Ishihara (2005), Ronald Jenn (2006), Selina Lai-Henderson (2015), and Paula Harrington and Ronald Jenn (2017).

Asselineau, Roger. The Literary Reputation of Mark Twain from 1910 to 1950: A Critical Essay and Bibliography. Paris: Librairie Marcel Didier, 1954.

Berthele, Raphaele. “Translating African-American Vernacular English into German: The Problem of ‘Jim’ in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.” Journal of Sociolinguistics 4, no. 4 (2000): 588–613.

Baetzhold, Howard G. Mark Twain and John Bull: The British Connection. Bloomington: University of Indiana University Press, 1970.

Dolmetsch, Carl. “Our Famous Guest”: Mark Twain in Vienna. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1993.

Fishkin, Shelley Fisher. “American Literature in Transnational Perspective: The Case of Mark Twain.”  Blackwell Companion to American Literary Studies.” Edited by Caroline  F. Levander and Robert S. Levine. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

———. “DEEP MAPS: A Brief for Digital Palimpsest Mapping Projects (DPMPs) or ‘Deep Maps.’” Journal of Transnational American Studies. 3:2.

Winter 2011.<>

———. Lighting Out for the Territory: Reflections on Mark Twain and American Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

———. “‘Originally of Missouri, Now of the Universe’: Mark Twain and the World.”  In Nadja Gernalzick and Heike C. Spickermann, eds. Developing Transnational American Studies. Heidelberg: Winter, 2019.

———. “Transnational Twain.” In American Studies as Transnational Practice, edited by

Donald Pease and Yuan Shu.  University Press of New England, 2015.

Fishkin, Shelley Fisher, editor. The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on his Life and Works. New York: Library of America, 2010.

Gauthier-Villars, Henry. Mark Twain. Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1884.

Henderson, Archibald. Mark Twain. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1911.

Ishihara, Tsuyoshi. Mark Twain in Japan: The Cultural Reception of an American Icon. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2005.

Jenn, Ronald. “From American Frontier to European Borders: Publishing French Translations of Mark Twain’s Novels Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (1884–1963).” Book History 9 (2006): 235–60.

Jenn, Ronald, and Paula Harrington. Mark Twain and France: The Making of a New American Identity. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2017.

Kersten, Holger. “Mark Twain and Continental Europe.” In A Companion to Mark Twain, edited by Peter Messent and Louis J. Budd. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.

———. “‘Human Natur in a Forren Aspeck’: Mark Twain’s Encounters with German Culture.” Mark Twain Review (The Mark Twain Circle of Korea) 4 (1999): 47–72.

———. Von Hannibal nach Heidelberg: Mark Twain und die Deutschen. [From Hannibal to Heidelberg: Mark Twain and the Germans]. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 1993.

Lai-Henderson, Selina. Mark Twain in China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015.

Lavoie, Judith. Mark Twain et la parole noir. Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2001.

Rodney, Robert M., editor and compiler. Mark Twain International: A Bibliography and Interpretation of his Worldwide Popularity. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1982.