New Issue of the Mark Twain Circular Now Available

Editor’s Note: James W. Leonard is a faculty member at The Citadel (Charleston, SC), the editor of the Mark Twain Circular, and webmaster for the Mark Twain Circle of America, the principal scholarly organization dedicated to the study of Samuel Clemens, his works, and his times. The membership includes most of the leading Mark Twain scholars in the world, as well as teachers, fans, and enthusiasts from many nations and many walks of life.

The June 2020 issue of the Mark Twain Circular is out! As some of you may have noticed, we’ve altered our publication schedule so that our first issue each year includes the minutes from our late-May business meeting. Of course, this year’s meeting was conducted over Zoom, which was surprisingly effective and led to some interesting discussion of how video conferencing will change meetings, round tables, and symposia moving forward. Along with the minutes, the current issue includes an introductory note from Susan K. Harris, the Mark Twain Circle’s new president. Our “Twain Talk” interviewee is outgoing president Larry Howe, and our “Recent Publications” section is full of exciting new scholarship.

While the most recent issue of the Circular is only available to Circle members (you can renew your membership or join here), all past issues are now hosted at the Mark Twain Circular Archive on our website. There, you can catch up on the recent publications listed in our Winter 2019 issue, or take a peek into the past by browsing the Circle’s very first (1987) issues. It’s always interesting to see how scholarship has evolved over the years, but the Archive also offers an opportunity to understand how we’ve grown as an organization. My thanks to everyone involved in producing and preserving these records—especially to Jerry Kerkmeyer, who digitized the early years for the original archive and to James S. Leonard, whose collection made compiling a comprehensive archive a relatively simple task.

We’ve got some new and exciting projects in the pipeline, and I’m happy to announce that our new website will be launching soon! We’ll be streamlining electronic renewals, re-organizing information, and even launching some new web-based series to promote and further Twain scholarship. I can only hope that we’ll live up to the example set by the Center for Mark Twain Studies’ digital content. This has been a long time coming, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.

CFP: Mark Twain Circle at MLA Conference in Toronto, Canada (January 7-10, 2021)

The Mark Twain Circle is accepting proposals for a panel at MLA 2021 in Toronto. 

The panel topic is “Gender/Power/Twain”.

The year 2020 saw the centennials of both woman suffrage in the U.S. and the canonization of Joan of Arc in the Catholic world. In recognition of those events, the Mark Twain Circle solicits papers for a session on Mark Twain and political power, broadly defined as an individual’s ability to effectively participate in her or his governing structures. How did Twain see women fitting into the American political structure? How did he portray Joan’s relationship to the ruling structures in his Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte?  What were his own relationships to the various power structures that enmeshed him? And thinking broadly, how did he envision political power across time and place? We welcome proposals tackling these and related topics for our 2021 MLA session in Toronto.

Proposals (300-500 words, please include a short cv) are due no later than March 16, 2020.  Please send to Susan K. Harris, address: [email protected]​  We are especially interested in proposals from emerging scholars and individuals from underrepresented groups. Graduate students selected to present may apply for the Louis Budd Travel Grant sponsored by the MTC.  Papers given at MTC sessions are often sought for development and publication in the journal Mark Twain Annual.

CFP: Mark Twain Circle at ALA Conference in San Diego, CA (May 21-24, 2020)

Mark Twain Circle of America at the 2020 American Literature Association Conference

CFP Mark Twain Circle of America for ALA 2020, San Diego, May 21-24, 2020

Title: “Mark Twain Reading/Reading Mark Twain”

Mark Twain was an avid—and participatory—reader, combing through texts with pencil in hand, marking and annotating as he went. His characters read, too–and they leave evidence of their reading in their dialogue and their own writings.  Furthermore, Twain’s own readers show the impact of his writings in the plots, characters, and satirical episodes written in Twain’s wake.  The MTC call for proposals for the 2020 ALA conference focuses on reading broadly defined, including–but not limited to–what, how, and where Twain read, the influence of his reading on his writings, and the impact of Twain’s own works on subsequent writers.

We enthusiastically encourage junior and emerging scholars to present their work.  Graduate students chosen to present may apply for a grant from Mark Twain Circle’s Louis Budd Travel Fund to help defray some of the costs of attending the conference.

While we seek submissions without restriction, all presenters must be active members of the Mark Twain Circle at the time of the conference (information about membership is available at our website

Presentations sponsored by the Mark Twain Circle are often developed into articles that appear in the Mark Twain Annual, published by Penn State University Press.

Send proposals (400 words or fewer) by January 15, 2020 to Larry Howe, president of the Mark Twain Circle ([email protected]).

CFP: Mark Twain Circle at MLA in Seattle, WA (January 9-12, 2020)

“Mark Twain and Globalism”

Illustration from The Innocents Abroad; or, The New Pilgrim’s Progress,
American Publishing Company, 1869.

Although Mark Twain is often characterized as a quintessentially American writer, he is almost as frequently noted as a citizen of the world. The Mark Twain Circle seeks proposals for papers that investigate Twain’s writings in a transnational context, interpreting representations of the American and the other in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, international politics, and cultural contact.

MLA requires that presenters be members of MLA at the time of the panel’s submission to the program. We also encourage panelists to become members of the Mark Twain Circle. We are especially eager to receive submissions from emerging scholars and members of underrepresented groups. 

Send proposals to Larry Howe, President of the Mark Twain Circle:  [email protected]
Deadline:  March 15, 2019


Call For Papers: “Mark Twain & Gender” at MLA 2019, Sponsored by Mark Twain Circle of America

Although Mark Twain’s writing shows a partiality toward masculine experiences and perspectives, critical scholarship in the last 20 years or so has chipped away at the masculine critical bias. The Mark Twain Circle seeks proposals for papers that pursue these gender investigations further, re-interpreting representations of masculinity, femininity, or cross-dressing in the writings of Mark Twain or the influence of gendered social conventions on the life of Samuel Clemens.

We welcome research perspectives that highlight the ways in which gender intersects with race and class. MLA requires that all presenters be members of MLA at the time of the panel’s submission to the program. Membership in the Mark Twain Circle is desirable but not mandatory. We especially encourage submissions from emerging scholars and members of underrepresented groups.

Send proposals to Larry Howe, Vice-president of the Mark Twain Circle: [email protected]

Deadline: March 1, 2018