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Mon, 1 May 2006 08:29:24 -0400
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Elmira College
Center for Mark Twain Studies

The Trouble Begins at Eight, Spring 2006 Series

New this season...

If you are unable to attend our series, consider listening online.
Within a week of each lecture, go to
<BLOCKED::> .  Click on The Trouble Begins at
Eight.  Click on the appropriate audio file.  Live audio recordings will
be available (with individual speakers' permission.)

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006, in the Barn at Quarry Farm, 8 p.m.
Mark Twain and the American Media Revolution
Bruce Michelson, Professor of American Literature, University of

Sam Clemens began his professional life as a "printer's devil," an
apprentice in a Hannibal shop -- and throughout his life he kept up a
keen interest in every phase of printing and publishing. Living through
the most dramatic changes in those media since the time of the
Gutenbergs, he tried to be a leader and a tycoon in these new
industries. In his prime years as an author, he involved himself in the
entire process of making a book. How did these interests affect the way
that Mark Twain wrote? What did he see as the possibilities of a printed
book -- as a multimedia experience, a national or global sensation, and
a cultural force? Amid a storm of printed words and pictures, how do his
hopes and fears about this media revolution turn up as important themes
in his most memorable books?

Doors open at 7:30.  The Trouble Begins at Eight.

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006, in the Barn at Quarry Farm, 8 p.m.
Joe Twichell's War: How Mark Twain's Good Friend and Confidant Handled
Three Tough Years in the Army of the Potomac
Steve Courtney, Independent Scholar, Hartford, CT

Mark Twain was entranced by his Hartford friend Joe Twichell's stories
of his experiences in the Civil War, where the minister-to-be was
chaplain to a rough New York City regiment, and the author was quite
happy to steal the stories. Steve Courtney, who with Peter Messent has
edited the just-published Civil War Letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell:
A Chaplain's Story, will speak on Twichell's war-time experiences and
their uses in Mark Twain's work. Mr. Courtney will read excerpts from
the letters, which include vivid and eloquent descriptions of battles
and their aftermath; hospital scenes; the politics of the era;
first-hand accounts of Lincoln; and other moving depictions.

Copies of Civil War Letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: A Chaplain's
Story will be available for purchase and signing in the Barn.

Doors open at 7:30.  The Trouble Begins at Eight.

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006, in the Barn at Quarry Farm, 8 p.m.
"That Grotesque and Laughable Word, Patriotism": Rethinking Mark Twain
on Patriotism
David Caplan, Associate Professor, Ohio Wesleyan University

In a bitter diary entry near the end of his life, Mark Twain denounced
"patriotism" as "that grotesque and laughable word. The soul and
substance of what customarily ranks as patriotism," he thundered, "is
moral cowardice and always has been." This denunciation reflected
Twain's growing estrangement from politics following his wife's death, a
time he saw as both a personal and national fall. America, Twain
believed, had "thrown away" its "most valuable asset": the possibility
for individual assent. Accordingly, Twain grew increasingly suspicious
of patriotism, seeing the concept as militaristic and violent. Join
David Caplan as he reexamines the limitations that such skepticism
places on contemporary debates and suggests, instead, an alternative
model of patriotism.

Light refreshments will be available preceding this closing lecture.

Doors open at 7:30.  The Trouble Begins at Eight.

For more information, write [log in to unmask]
<BLOCKED::mailto:[log in to unmask]>  or phone (607) 735-1941.