Last week Ron Powers visited Elmira College and the Center for Mark Twain Studies. The bestselling and award-winning author of MarK Twain: A Life (2005) led several discussions, including of his most recent book, Nobody Cares About Crazy People (2017), recently named a finalist for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Science Writing Award.
Powers also gave the first Trouble Begins lecture of the 2018 season. In “Travelin’ Man,” Powers argues that Twain “staked out” a “roadmap for proletarian writing” which would be followed by 20th-century American authors like James Agee and Philip Roth, as well as Powers himself.
Many scholars and biographers have undersold the extraordinary scope of Twain’s travels, a portion of which Powers describes in detail, as well as underestimated how Twain’s drive to “experience the terror and ecstasy of unknown territory” inflects his legacy.
This highly entertaining performance is available for streaming and download here.