Twain in his
honorary Oxford regalia

Volume 52, Fall

 

 

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      In this issue the Mark Twain Journal honors Lawrence I. Berkove as a Legacy Scholar. His former student (and now Professor of English at Eastern Michigan University Joseph Csicsila) summarizes the importance of Berkove’s scholarship to Twain studies.

The paths of two great talents—one scientific and the other literary—connected during the Gilded Age and sparked mutual admiration and a friendship that lasted for their lifetimes. The theories about electricity developed by Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) and the writings of Mark Twain (1835-1910) still resonate in the twenty-first century. Bratislav Stojiljkovic, Dragoljub A. Cucic, and Zoran Pajic contribute an essay that outlines the friendship of Tesla and Twain, and explains the genius behind Tesla’s electrical discoveries and inventions.

Kevin Mac Donnell’s article investigates a printing hoax that Sam Clemens played in 1856 when he lived with his brothers Orion and Henry in Keokuk, Iowa. Tongue in cheek, he declared himself an “Antiquarian” in the Keokuk City Directory for 1856-7. John Lockwood writes about Twain’s “The Legend of the Capitoline Venus” hoax and a later imitation of the same stratagem. Matt Seybold’s "Tom Sawyer Impersonates ‘The Original Confidence Man’" researches literary and actual nineteenth-century confidence men and their place among American characters.

What has happened to river pilot Isaiah Sellers’s journal and logbook? That remains a mystery, but Michael H. Marleau traces their whereabouts to a certain point and presents a genealogy of the Sellers family.

Jeanne Campbell Reesman’s “Mark Twain vs. God: The Story of a Relationship” illustrates how Twain’s writings continue to lead our imagination into meditations and deeper observations about humankind. In a similar study of Twain’s political saavy, Stefan Kehlenbach’s “I am an American: The Political Consequences of Hank Morgan’s Lack of Identity” finds Hank Morgan as relevant today as in the sixth and nineteenth centuries.

We sadly take notice of the passing of J. R. LeMaster of Baylor University.

The Mark Twain Journal concludes the year with an interview with McAvoy Layne, a Mark Twain educator who has read all of Twain’s published writings (18,000 pages) in ten years. Layne primarily considers himself an educator rather than an impersonator but has given more than 4,000-plus performances as the white-suited Twain.

Books received this time were Philip E. Davis’s Comparative Philosophy: Four Philosophical Americans and David H. Fears’ second edition of Mark Twain Day by Day: An Annotated Chronology of the Life of Samuel L. Clemens. Volume 1 (1835-1885).

For the Spring 53 (2015) issue, Kevin Mac Donnell and Michael H. Marleau will return with some fresh perspectives on Twain. Mac Donnell has discovered “Mark Twain’s Lost Sweetheart.” Michael H. Marleau will recount three months when Sam Clemens was a steamboat pilot for the Confederacy.

The Mark Twain Journal acknowledges the valuable assistance of Deric Sallas and Heather Adams in preparing this issue.

   

 

 

Lawrence I. Berkove
Mark Twain Journal Legacy Scholar

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An Antiquarian (and future Antiquarian behind the hoop skirt) aboard the Quaker City
(Courtesy of Kevin Mac Donnell)

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