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.

Listen To “Travelin’ Man,” A Talk By Ron Powers

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 […]

150 Years Ago Mark Twain Celebrated New Years Eve By Debating How Drunk He Had Been During the Preceding Year & Listening to Charles Dickens Read David Copperfield With His Future Wife

1868 was a pretty important year for Sam Clemens. Over the course of it, he would turn the Quaker City cruise of the preceding year into a lucrative cross-country lecture tour and what would prove to be a bestselling book, The Innocents Abroad (1869). He made an extended stay in Washington, DC, gathering impressions which would form the basis for his first novel, The Gilded Age (1873), as well as several […]

Mark Twain, Santa Claus Impersonator

WNPR (Hartford) ran a segment this week about Mark Twain’s “Letter From Santa Claus” featuring an interview with The Mark Twain House‘s Director of Education, James Golden. You can listen to it below: You can read the complete letter in the Mark Twain Project’s digital archive. It is clear that Sam succeeded in instilling Susy (the receiver of Santa’s letter) with the spirit of the season. A few years later, in […]

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 Forum Reviews: The Triumphs & Torments of Mark Twain by Billie Valentine-Fonorow

Editor’s Note: CMTS is proud to partner with the Mark Twain Forum, which has long been a leading venue for reviews of new publications in Mark Twain Studies. Visit their extensive archive. Follow the link at the bottom of the page to read the complete review. A portion of Amazon purchases made via links from Mark Twain Forum Book Reviews is donated to the Mark Twain Project.  “Was It Heaven Or Hell?”: […]

Dispatches from Quarry Farm: It’s Definitely The Cat

Quarry Farm’s only year-round resident, Caretaker Steve Webb, provides us with occasional, not altogether reliable, updates from the premises. To paraphrase the friendly ghost with whom he shares his home, Mr. Webb’s dispatches include eminently plausible fictions, mildly exaggerated truths, and an exhaustless mine of stupendous lies. The breeze pushed through the window screen just hard enough to float the curtains away from the wall and split them a few inches […]