Mark Twain Journal

Volume 55, Spring & Fall

Film Homage

Mark Twain Main Page Mark Twain Main Page




     Legacy Scholars

     Elmira Conference (Video)


     47-Quaker City



     50-Pen Name

     51-Charlie Webster

     52.1-Italian Villas



     53.2-Mississippi River

     54.1-MT Kills

     54.2-Mac Donnell

     55-Film Homage


     56.2-Legacy Directors

     57.1-Huckleberry Finn, The Musical

     57.2-Clemens's Signature



     Back Issues



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Victor A. Doyno
HF Scholar


Thomas K. Meier,
President, Elmira College


Jack Rosenbalm
SAH Editor


Margaret Tenney
Wife of Thomas Tenney,
second editor of the MTJ


    Note from Joseph Csicsila

As the guest editor for this double issue of the Mark Twain Journal I have the privilege to honor Barbara Schmidt as a Legacy Scholar. R. Kent Rasmussen and Taylor Roberts have collaborated with Schmidt in numerous capacities over the last two decades as she has worked tirelessly to establish an enviable online presence for Mark Twain studies, and they have both contributed essays detailing Schmidt's pioneering contributions to the field.

Just prior to the release last winter of the award-winning feature film Band of Robbers, writers-directors Aaron and Adam Nee talked with me about their cinematic re-imagining of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as adults in contemporary American culture. Band of Robbers will be featured this summer at the Eighth International Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies in Elmira, New York. A transcript of that conversation leads the volume.

Ronald Jenn and Linda A. Morris collaborate to discuss the role of the French and English sources used by Mark Twain in the writing of Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc. Their analysis of the marginalia in these texts reveal that Twain, who was typically wary of European affairs, became entangled in one of the most passionate and longstanding intellectual debates of nineteenth-century France, the assessment of the role and scope of Joan of Arc's career, as well as her impact on French and world history.

In a second essay on Joan of Arc, Mary A. Knighton reflects on the challenges that Twain may have faced personally and with his readership in creating female characters on a par with his male characters. She speculates that his failure in having achieved critical success with his beloved novel merely obscures what Twain himself aimed for in this literary experiment and finally found in it, which appears to have been a highly personal, mostly private, achievement.

Betina Entzminger adds to the discussion regarding the influence of Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court on Sam Raimi's 1992 film Army of Darkness. Having discovered that Raimi's original ending for the film (which was changed when the studio requested a more upbeat conclusion) resembles Twain's penultimate Sand-Belt scene with its discordantly dark tone and its cave setting, Entzminger suggests that both works reflect fin de siecle anxieties about the impact of new technologies in a rapidly changing world.

Historical geographer Peter B. Mires takes note of Twain's use of architectural imagery throughout his body of work and argues that Twain not only understood architecture well but that he masterfully employed architectural descriptions as a literary device over the course of his career. Sandra Hedicke Clark contributes original pen and ink illustrations to this essay.

Alan Gribben returns to the subject of the nineteenth-century "Boy Book" and offers an intriguing theory about why Twain and other American authors who one way or another avoided service during the Civil War might have been drawn to writing narratives focused on the rituals of adolescent male bonding.

Twain's earliest representations of Hartford, Connecticut are the subject of Elizabeth Preysner's essay. In letters from the late 1860s, Twain's portrayals of Hartford use the urban pastoral language of contemporary reformers, presenting a romanticized view of the city and its design. She contends that for Twain, Hartford came to represent an idealized space of reconciliation, where industry and culture were united via a domesticated urban pastoral cityscape.

Ina Coolbrith, born Josephine Donna Smith, was the niece of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and a poet affiliated with the San Francisco circle of writers that included Bret Harte and Charles Stoddard. Nicole Amare and Alan Manning hypothesize that Twain and Coolbrith may have shared a brief romance during Twain's time out west and that his subsequent writing about the Mormons is in large part the result of her impact on his life.

Three selections in this volume analyze various aspects of Twain's "Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts." The first by Kristen Rotherham explores Twain's use of the dream as a metaphor for self-discovery in No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger. Rebecca Cantor's essay discusses the significance of names in "The Chronicle of Young Satan," "Schoolhouse Hill," and No. 44. Finally, Rebecca Johnston examines a little-known pamphlet that Twain relied on while drafting the sections of No. 44 involving the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

Twain sleuth John Lockwood provides another installment of his newspaper findings from the Library of Congress.

Photographs from the "Mark Twain and Youth" Symposium at the Center for Mark Twain Studies in October 2016 bring back pleasant memories of a beautiful autumn weekend in Elmira.

Sadly, we note the passing of Victor A. Doyno, Thomas K. Meier, John O. (Jack) Rosenbalm, and Margaret Tenney.

Books Received include R. Kent Rasmussen's Critical Insights: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tracy Wuster's Mark Twain: American Humorist.

The Mark Twain Journal is pleased to add two new names to its Editorial Board: Judith Yaross Lee and Gary Scharnhorst.


Barbara Schmidt
Legacy Scholar


Aaron and Adam Nee,
writers and directors


Band of Robbers (2015)
"Tom and Huck are all grown up. Sort of . . ."


Mark Twain's Joan of Arc
is the subject of two essays.


Sandra Hedicke Clark's original drawings for Peter Mires's essay about "Mark Twain and Architecture" are charming.


Ina Coolbrith, poet

Book Reviews


R. Kent Rasmussen
Critical Insights: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


Tracy Wuster
Mark Twain: American Humorist


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