Scharnhorst’s Trouble Begins Lecture Now Available

The 2024 Spring Trouble Begins Lecture Series presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies (CMTS) began on Wednesday, May 1 at Quarry Farm and will continue each Wednesday through May. The lectures are free and open to the public and recordings of the lectures will be posted to the CMTS website.

The first lecture, “Mark Twain: Social Satirist” was presented by Gary Scharnhorst.

In his speech, Scharnhorst will contend that while Mark Twain is often described as a humorist, he was much more than a jokesmith, especially late in his career. He may more accurately be described as a social satirist, particularly on issues such as race, religion, free speech and censorship, aristocracy, imperialism, colonial oppression, and political corruption. During his career, he was both celebrated and denounced for his activism and his public comments on controversial topics, as illustrated in caricatures and editorial cartoons published at the time, though at his death he was mostly remembered for his patriotism and progressivism.

Gary Scharnhorst is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico and editor of the journal American Literary Realism. He is the former president of the Western Literature Association and former chair of the American Literature Section of the Modern Language Association. He is also the author of over a hundred scholarly articles and author or editor of over sixty books, including Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews (University of Alabama Press) and the three-volume Life of Mark Twain (University of Missouri Press).

The Trouble Begins Lectures are open to the public and begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Barn at Quarry Farm. The Series will continue on Wednesdays throughout May with recordings of each posted to the CMTS website.

See additional 2024 Spring Trouble Begins Lectures:

  • Wed., May 8: “Genealogies of Mothering and Mammying in Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson” by Brigitte Fielder, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Wed., May 15: “The Mixed-Race Fiction of Charles Chesnutt and Mark Twain” by Rafael Walker, Baruch College, City University of New York.
  • Wed., May 22: “Mark Twain’s 70th at Delmonico’s: The Dawn of a New Era in American Literature” by Tess Chakkalakal, Bowdoin College.
  • Wed., May 29: “Mark Twain’s Caste Studies in Following the Equator” by Susan Gillman, University of California, Santa Cruz.

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.