Lee’s Trouble Begins Lecture Now Available

The 2022 Fall Trouble Begins Lecture Series presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies (CMTS) concluded on Wednesday, October 26 at Quarry Farm. The lectures are free and open to the public and recordings of the lectures will be posted to the CMTS website. 

Judith Yaross Lee presented “‘Mr. Stanley, I Presume’: Mark Twain’s 1872 Visit to England and His Growth as a Writer.”

Samuel Clemens had three explicit reasons for visiting England in the fall of 1872.  He sought to cement relations with his British publisher for the authorized UK editions of Roughing It and Innocents Abroad. He wanted to challenge John Camden Hotten’s unauthorized publications of his work. And he aimed to soak up English life for a book featuring Mark Twain’s comic take on local customs. He had not intended to reconnect with Henry Morton Stanley, whom he had met briefly in 1866, recently returned from his successful African mission to rescue missionary explorer Dr. David Livingstone. But after dutifully forwarded James Redpath’s invitation offering to manage a US lecture tour for Stanley that winter, Sam began a friendship with Stanley that not only fills in the biographical and historical details of a time when both felt the thrill and challenges of life as Yankees suddenly thrust into Queen Victoria’s England—but also tracks Mark Twain’s growth as a writer shifting from topical sketches and travel books to fully developed fictions and a robust public persona.

Judith Yaross Lee is Distinguished Professor Emerita of Communication Studies at Ohio University and a 2022 Quarry Farm Scholar. In addition to her recent Seeing MAD: Essays on Mad Magazine’s Humor and Legacy (2020), edited with John Bird, her six books and five dozen essays on American humor and popular rhetorics include Twain’s Brand: Humor in Contemporary American Culture (2012) and “Brand Management: Samuel Clemens, Trademarks, and the Mark Twain Enterprise” (2014), for which she recovered the long-lost Mark Twain trademark documentation. Her leadership of the 2020 Quarry Farm Symposium, “American Humor and Matters of Empire,” and her article and special issue of Studies in American Humor with the same title, grew out of her early work on Mark Twain’s relationship to Henry Stanley.

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.

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, Jr., 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 community and regional, national, and international students and scholars of Mark Twain.