Mark Twain Journal

Volume 56, Fall

Legacy Directors

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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'Mark Twain and
The Coal Question"

Thomas Reigstad


Langdon Coal Yard




"Was Huck Quaker?"

Kevin Mac Donnell


Twain and Lewis, a Dunker Baptist


    Editor Alan Gribben's Note

This issue celebrates the achievements of the directors of the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College in Elmira, New York. In a mere quarter of a century these five individuals turned a donated farm house into a scholar's retreat and an international promoter of Mark Twain studies. As Mark Twain in Elmira (1977, 2013) reminds us, Clemens and his family spent many summers in Elmira; his sister-in-law's home there, Quarry Farm, contributed greatly to his ability to compose his greatest works. When Jervis Langdon, Jr. donated this site to Elmira College, it fell to a succession of imaginative directors of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, beginning with Herbert A. Wisbey, Jr. and then Darryl Baskin, to decide how it could be utilized to best advantage in serving Twain scholars around the world. Gretchen Sharlow, the third director, recollects the challenges they were confronting in the early years when she started as a volunteer in 1983. Bryan Reddick, the longtime chief academic officer of Elmira College, witnessed this astonishingly rapid transformation, and here gives his impressions of the directors he knew, including Barbara Snedecor. Elmira College professor Matt Seybold characterizes the accomplishments and goals of the current director, Joseph Lemak. The Center for Mark Twain Studies serves as the editorial address for the Mark Twain Journal and since 1989 has sponsored quadrennial conferences on the State of Mark Twain Studies. In 2017 the Center hosted the eighth of these international events.

Thomas J. Reigstad's article, "Mark Twain and the Coal Question," investigates some provocative social issues that have troubled his biographers and clearly bothered Twain, too.

Kevin Mac Donnell traces tantalizing suggestions that a religious denomination played a role in Twain's masterpiece; readers should suspect some surprises as they begin "Was Huck Quaker? The Inner Light in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

Liam Purdon tightens the connections between an unlikely pair, John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress and Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." This may be the definitive study of Huck's remark in Chapter 17 about the "tough" book he found on the Grangerfords' parlor table.

Deborah Collins takes a close look at the reception Mark Twain received during his travel around India in 1896, contending, among other things, that his exposure to the tenets of Hindu philosophy had a lasting effect on the writer.

Lizzy Nichols explicates the balancing act that Twain's oral performances and published writings attained during an era when the improvements in printing technology were rapidly standardizing the English language.

Virtually all critics agree about certain resemblances between the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain, but Dennis W. Eddings adds to our awareness of specific resemblances between a number of their publications.


Center for Mark Twain Studies Legacy Directors


Herbert Wisbey, Jr.


Darryl Baskin


Gretchen Sharlow
and Barbara Snedecor


Joseph Lemak


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