Life, In Purgatory (A Twainiac Quarantine Diary)

Our resident scholar discusses the resonance of Mark Twain’s “Was it Heaven? Or Hell?” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hanging The Crane In Hartford: Mark Twain’s 39th Birthday

Sam Clemens celebrated his 39th birthday on November 30, 1874 with his wife, Livy, and their two young daughters. Both Sam and Livy’s birthdays fell in close proximity to the Thanksgiving holiday. It was naturally a season dense with revelry and gift-giving, mostly focused around the children, but Livy did not forget her husband, presenting him with the recently-published first edition of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Hanging of the Crane, illustrated by […]

Mark Twain, Suffragette Ally & Overprotective Father

In his 1903 essay “Why Not Abolish It?,” Mark Twain argues that the age of consent for extramarital relations should be abolished for women. Twain’s underlying premises are that young women are not responsible enough to make their own decisions about sex, that once a girl has engaged in sexual relations she is “dragged down into the mud and into enduring misery and shame,” and that, worst of all, so is […]

What was Mark Twain doing the last time the Cubs won the World Series?

The Chicago Cubs first trip to the World Series since 1945 is, for many fans of the franchise, tinged with the melancholy remembrance of friends and family. Many lives were lived in the interim between World Series appearances, much less World Series victories. But such rare events can also have a telescoping effect, temporarily making the seemingly distant past seem oddly approachable and familiar. The last time the Cubs won […]