Quarry Farm Testimonials

We occasionally feature testimonials from recent Quarry Farm Fellows and Residents, which combine conversational illustrations of their research and writing process with personal reflections on their experiences as Twain scholars, teachers, and fellows. Applications for Quarry Farm Fellowships are due each Winter. Find more information here.


Nathaniel Cadle

“Contemplating Nineteenth-Century Print Culture”

Nathaniel Cadle is an Associate Professor of English at Florida International University.  He is the author of The Mediating Nation:  Late American Realism, Globalization, and the Progressive State, winner of the 2015 SAMLA Studies Book Award, as well as essays on subjects ranging from the anti-imperial politics of W.E.B. Du Bois to the teaching of American literary realism.  In addition to a 2019 Quarry Farm Fellowship, his current research project is supported by a 2019-20 award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Nathaniel Cadle’s testimonial can be found HERE.


Max Cavitch

“Living The Life”

Max Cavitch is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also an affiliated faculty member of the programs in Comparative Literature, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, and Psychoanalytic Studies. He is the author of American Elegy: The Poetry of Mourning from the Puritans to Whitman (2007) and of numerous essays on topics in American and African American Literature, Cinema Studies, Poetry and Poetics, and Psychoanalytic Studies. He is the editor of the forthcoming Oxford World’s Classics edition of Walt Whitman’s Specimen Days and co-editor, with the historian Brian Connolly, of the forthcoming essay collection, Situation Critical! Critique, Theory, and Early American Studies. He also edits and regularly contributes to Psyche on Campus: A Blog on Teaching Psychoanalysis in the Undergraduate Classroom, which he launched in August 2019.

Max Cavitch’s testimonial can be found HERE.


Lawrence Howe

“April in Elmira & Redding”

Larry Howe is past-president of the Mark Twain Circle of America, Professor of English and Film Studies at Roosevelt University, and editor of Studies in American Humor.  He is the author of Mark Twain and the Novel: The Double-Cross of Authority and co-editor with Harry Wonham of Mark Twain and Money: Language, Capital, and Culture.

Lawrence Howe’s testimonial can be found HERE.


Don James McLaughlin

“Germ: A Growing Point. A Bud.”

Don James McLaughlin is an assistant professor of English at The University of Tulsa specializing in 19th-century and early American literature. He earned his Ph.D. in English at the University of Pennsylvania in July 2017. He completed his dissertation “Infectious Affect: The Phobic Imagination in American Literature” under the direction of Heather Love, Max Cavitch, Nancy Bentley, and Chi-ming Yang. The dissertation (now first book project) provides an intellectual history of phobia in American print culture as a medical diagnosis, political metaphor, and aesthetic sensation in the 18th and 19th centuries. In January 2016, an essay from the project was published in The New Republic, titled “The Anti-Slavery Roots of Today’s -PhobiaObsession.” Two additional essays from the project are currently forthcoming in Literature and Medicine and J19: The Journal of 19th-Century Americanists. In 2018, Penn English awarded Don James the Diane Hunter Prize for Best Dissertation submitted during the 2017/18 academic year. In the summer of 2018, Don James was awarded the Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society to support completion of his first book. His research has also been supported by a Marguerite Bartlett Hamer Dissertation Fellowship from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and the Penn Humanities Forum.  

Don James McLaughlin’s testimonial can be found HERE.


Bruce Michelson

“The Mad Monk & Not-So-Distant Mirror 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 writing on Claude Monet and the fine arts and a one-act comedy about Sam Clemens, his daughter Susy, and a Mysterious Stranger in France.

Bruce Michelson’s testimonial can be found HERE.


Linda A. Morris

“The Quietest Place”

Linda A. Morris is Professor Emeritus, Department of English, University of California, Davis.  Her book-length studies include Women’s Humor in the Age of Gentility:  The Life and Works of Frances Miriam Whitcher, American Women Humorists: Critical Essays (Ed.), and Gender Play in Mark Twain:  Cross-Dressing and Transgression.  She has written a number of essays about Mark Twain, including “What is Personal about Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc?”, “The Sources of Mark Twain’s Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc” (with Ronald Jenn), “Gender Bending as Childs’ Play,” “Identity Switching in Huckleberry Finn,” “Twice-Told Tales:  Aunt Sally Phelps and the ‘Evasion’ in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “the Eloquent Silence in ‘Hellfire Hotchkiss’”, and an in-press essay on “Mark Twain and Sexuality,” for Mark Twain in Context.” Her essays on American women’s humor include “Good Food, Great Friends, Cold Beer:  The Domestic Humor of Mary Lasswell,”  “Domestic Manners of the Americans:  A Transatlantic Phenomenon,” and most recently “Roz Chast:  From Whimsy to Transgression.”  She was the recipient of “The Charlie Award” by the American Humor Studies Association, and “The Olivia Langdon Clemens Award” by the Mark Twain Circle of America. 

Linda Morris’s testimonial can be found HERE.


Sarah Nance

“On Top of the Hill: Losing and Living at Quarry Farm”

Sarah Nance is an Assistant Professor of English at the United States Air Force Academy. Her work examines late 19th, 20th, and 21st-century literature and art through the lens of the medical humanities, and her current scholarly book project explores the intersections of illness, violence, and scale in contemporary literature. She is also at work on a collection of poems about the strange temporality of grief and the physical locations associated with loss. Her critical and creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in venues such as Literature and MedicineArizona QuarterlyThe Los Angeles Review of BooksASAP/JBelletristParenthesesMuse/A, and elsewhere.

Sarah Nance’s testimonial can be found HERE.


Stephen Pasqualina

“Visions of History at Quarry Farm”

Stephen Pasqualina is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Core Humanities program at the University of Nevada, Reno. His research focuses primarily on American modernism and critical theory. His current book project, Mechanical Failure: Modernism, Technology, and the Mediation of History, examines the role of speed and visual media technologies in the US modernist historical imaginary. Work related to this project has recently appeared in Modernism/modernityJ19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century AmericanistsPublic Books, and MarkTwainStudies.org.

Stephen Pasqualina’s testimonial can be found HERE.


Edward Shannon

“Away from the Feuds at Quarry Farm”

Ed Shannon is Professor of Literature and former Literature Convener at Ramapo College of NJ; he teaches courses in Humanities, American Studies, and American literature, including Author Studies: Mark Twain. His “’Our clothes are a lie’: Disguise and Christian Typology in Pudd’nhead Wilson” appeared in the 2009 Mark Twain Annual.  He also writes and teaches about comics and graphic novels. He’s written about cartoonists Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Charles Schulz, George Herriman, and Winsor McCay. He most frequently writes about Woody Guthrie. His most recent work on Guthrie includes “Illegal, Not Wanted, Unnamed: Woody Guthrie’s Exploration of Media, Immigration, and Identity in ‘Plane Wreck At Los Gatos (Deportee)’” (forthcoming, Theory in Action) and “‘Good Grief, Comrade Brown! Woody Guthrie, Charles Schulz and the Little Cartoon Book that was a Big Lie’” (Studies in Comics, 2019). He was named a 2005 Woody Guthrie Fellow by the Woody Guthrie Foundation.

Edward Shannon’s testimonial can be found HERE.


Todd Nathan Thompson

“Writing, Roosting, Roistering: Two Weeks at Quarry Farm”

Todd Nathan Thompson is Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he also serves as Assistant Chair of the English Department. 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 EditingEarly American LiteratureESQNineteenth-Century ProseJournal of American CultureTeaching 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.

Todd Nathan Thompson’s testimonial can be found HERE.


Laura Skandera Trombley

“Quarry Farm Redux”

Laura Skandera Trombley, in addition to being the forthcoming president of Southwestern University, is president emerita of Pitzer College, where she served for 13 years, and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Previously, she served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Trombley is the author of five books and a number of articles. She is the recipient of many awards for her scholarship, including being recognized by the Mark Twain Journal as a Legacy Scholar in spring 2019 for her efforts in rehabilitating the intellectual reputations of the women who surrounded Mark Twain. In 2017, she won the Louis J. Budd Award from the Mark Twain Circle of America for her contributions to Mark Twain Studies. Trombley graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Arts in English from Pepperdine University. She received her doctorate in English from the University of Southern California.

Laura Skandera Trombley’s testimonial can be found HERE.


Melissa Scholes Young

“The Crane House Speaks”

Melissa Scholes Young is the author of the novel Flood, winner of the Literary Fiction Category for the 2017 Best Book Award. Her writing has appeared in the AtlanticWashington PostHuffington PostNarrativePloughsharesPoet Lore, and Poets & Writers. She’s a Contributing Editor for Fiction Writers Review and Editor of Grace in Darkness: D.C. Women Writers. She’s an Associate Professor in the Department of Literature at American University in Washington, D.C.

Melissa Scholes Young’s testimonial can be found HERE.