The Fall 2017 “Trouble Begins” Lecture Series Begins With A Bark

On Wednesday, October 4, The Trouble Begins Lecture Series presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies is going to the dogs (and cats).

The first lecture, which begins at 7:00 p.m. in Cowles Hall at Elmira College, focuses on Twain’s portrayal of animal voices and early interest in animal rights. The lecture titled, “‘That heart-breaking bitch’: Aileen Mavourneen & the Transatlantic Anti-Vivisection Movement” will be presented by Emily E. VanDette, associate professor of English with the State University of New York at Fredonia.

The title of this talk comes from a letter in which William Dean Howells congratulates Clemens on his 1903 anti-vivisection novella, A Dog’s Tale.  This paper will situate Twain’s stance in the context of the vivisection controversy, including some leading voices who directly networked with the famous author to solicit his support for the cause, and it will connect Twain’s prescient portrayal of animal voice and identity to modern-day animal rights activism and post-humanist philosophy.

The evening will also include a poster display featuring famous pets of Elmira on loan from the Chemung County Historical Society, and a display, with perhaps a furry friend or two, by the Chemung County Chemung County Humane Society and SPCA. Donations will be accepted for the Chemung County Humane Society, and items such as pet food, toys, and supplies are also welcome.

This lecture is free and open the public.

Stayed tuned to the Elmira College social media channels for a sneak peek into the famous pets of Elmira as well as Twain’s love for animals.