Twain in his
honorary Oxford regalia

Volume 53, Fall 2015

 

 

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      As the Mark Twain Journal approaches its eightieth year of publication (it was originally known as the Mark Twain Quarterly at its inception in 1936), one marvels that the current editor is only the third person to hold this post. The founding editor and his successor would no doubt have been delighted to know that university libraries currently subscribe to their periodical in numerous nations, including France, Germany, Canada, Taiwan, Switzerland, Japan, and England. It has also become a frequently consulted source for the electronic database JSTOR.

In its early days the journal carried miscellaneous poetry as well as tributes to and articles about prominent contemporary American and British authors. Gradually over the decades its contents began to focus more narrowly on biographical, historical, and critical essays devoted to Samuel Clemens, his family, and his circle of friends and acquaintances. This issue carries on that latter tradition when ROBERT STEWART explores a hilarious newspaper report that Twain filed about an 1863 party at the governor�s house in Carson City. In addition, HENRY S. COHN fills in the blanks about the relationship between Clemens and the newspaper editor and Republican politician Joseph R. Hawley of Hartford. Most Mark Twain scholars are familiar with Hawley�s name but few know much about his life and career.

Our feature article for this Fall issue is THOMAS RUYS SMITH's illuminating study of how the Mississippi River was depicted shortly before Twain wrote his famous descriptions, and the extent to which those previous accounts presumably influenced his writing.

Independent scholar R. KENT RASMUSSEN becomes the fourth �Legacy Scholar� to be honored by the Mark Twain Journal for his major contributions to the field of Twain studies. KEVIN MAC DONNELL provides a biographical sketch of Rasmussen that helps us appreciate�if not entirely fathom�the energy and the methods behind his phenomenal productivity.

GRETCHEN MARTIN takes up a little-studied late fragment, �Which Was It?,� that has deeply ironic racial overtones.

JOHN LOCKWOOD continues to research instances where reality duplicated fictional events in Twain�s short stories: the burglar alarm and the telephone.

We also commemorate in this issue the success of MARK WOODHOUSE�s work as the Mark Twain Archivist at Elmira College. GRETCHEN SHARLOW, former director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, writes about Woodhouse�s many achievements in collecting, cataloging, archiving, and promoting the various association items he drew to that campus�including approximately ninety volumes from the Clemens family library that their housekeeper Katy Leary had been allowed to retain as mementoes.

 

 

R. Kent Rasmussen
Mark Twain Journal Legacy Scholar

Available Issues
To ship to a foreign address, please email Irene Wong at marktwainjournal@elmira.edu

 

  

 

Thomas Ruys Smith's "Reconstructing the River Before Mark Twain"
(JW Champney, The Pilot-House)

 

Henry S. Cohn's "MT and JR Hawley"
(Connecticut State Library)

 

Robert Stewart's "Guests and Songs in Twain's 'Letter from Carson City'"
(CT Rice, Courtesy of University of Nevada, Reno)

 

Mark Woodhouse
Mark Twain Archivist, retired

Copyright © 2017 Mark Twain Journal