The fall portion of the 2020-2021 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies continues with an interview with author Susan K. Harris about her new book Mark Twain, The World, and Me.
In Mark Twain, the World, and Me: “Following the Equator,” Then and Now, Susan K. Harris follows Twain’s last lecture tour as he wound his way through the British Empire in 1895–1896. Deftly blending history, biography, literary criticism, reportage, and travel memoir, Harris gives readers a unique take on one of America’s most widely studied writers. Structured as a series of interlocking essays written in the first person, this engaging volume draws on Twain’s insights into the histories and cultures of Australia, India, and South Africa and weaves them into timely reflections on the legacies of those countries today. Harris offers meditations on what Twain’s travels mean for her as a scholar, a white woman, a Jewish American, a wife, and a mother. By treating topics as varied as colonial rule, the clash between indigenous and settler communities, racial and sexual “inbetweenness,” and species decimation, Harris reveals how the world we know grew out of the colonial world Twain encountered. Her essays explore issues of identity that still trouble us today: respecting race and gender, preserving nature, honoring indigenous peoples, and respecting religious differences.
Harris will be interviewed by Dr. Matt Seybold, resident scholar of the Center for Mark Twain Studies and assistant professor of American Literature and Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College.
Harris is distinguished professor emerita at the University of Kansas. She is author of God’s Arbiters: Americans and the Philippines, 1898–1902; The Cultural Work of the Late Nineteenth Century Hostess: Annie Adams Fields and Mary Gladstone Drew; The Courtship of Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain; 19th-Century American Women’s Novels: Interpretive Strategies; and Mark Twain’s Escape from Time: A Study of Patterns and Images.
Harris has given a number of lectures for CMTS. These lectures have been preserved in CMTS’ “Trouble Begins Archives,” including:
- Susan K. Harris, “Searching For The Ornithorhynchus: Mark Twain and Animal Conservation” (October 7, 2015 – Quarry Farm Barn)
- Susan K. Harris, “Mark Twain and the Philippine-American War: “Hogwash” and “Pious Hypocrisy” (May 30, 2012 – Quarry Farm Barn)
- Susan K. Harris, “Love Texts: The Role of Books in the Courtship of Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain” (November 13, 1996 – Quarry Farm)
- Susan K. Harris, “Olivia Langdon Clemens’s Reading” (April 29, 1992 – Quarry Farm)
- Susan K. Harris, “Overcoming Sin: The Audiences for Mark Twain’s ‘Hadleyburg’” (July 23, 1990 – Quarry Farm)
- Susan K. Harris, “Four Ways to Kill a Mackerel: Mark Twain and Laura Hawkins” (November 3, 1988 – Quarry Farm)
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.