May 3, 2004
UCSC to co-host conference on Mark Twain with
Stanford University on May 14-15
By Scott Rappaport
UCSC will co-host a conference on legendary American writer Mark Twain
with Stanford University on the weekend of May 14-15.
Forrest G. Robinson, professor of American studies at UCSC,
below, is one of nine professors scheduled to present scholarly
papers at a two-day conference on Mark Twain.
Photo by Scott Rappaport
Titled Mark Twain at the Centurys End: 1890-1910,
the conference will take place on Friday, May 14, at Stanfords
Margaret Jacks Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturday, May 15,
in the Cowell Conference Room at UCSC from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The
event is free and open to the public.
Were trying to open up a conversation on a neglected part
of Twains life, said Forrest G. Robinson, professor of American
studies at UCSC, and one of nine professors slated to present scholarly
papers at the two-day event.
According to conventional wisdom, Mark Twain went into decline
in the last decades of his lifehe went bankrupt, his health suffered,
Robinson explained. Weve tended to look at his major earlier
works such as Huckleberry Finn in 1885, or A Connecticut Yankee
in 1889, rather than anything afterward. This conference is designed
to bring this period of his life more into the academic foreground.
Robinson noted that during the last two decades of his life, Twain
wrote his best social commentary and was a high-profile member of the
anti-imperialist movement in the United States.
Theres a lot of interest now in globalization, and one
of the important periods of our history was during those conflicts with
Spain in Cuba and the Philippines when we entered the imperialist business
in a big way, Robinson observed. Mark Twain was strongly
opposed to imperialism. Early on, he saw it as a logical extension of
race relations at home.
All of the papers presented at the conference will be published in
a forthcoming issue of The Arizona Quarterly, a professional
journal edited by Edgar A. Dryden, professor of literature at the University
of Arizona, who will serve as moderator of the event. Other guest presenters
will include Peter Messent, professor of American literature at the
University of Nottingham, England; Shelley Fisher Fishkin, professor
of English and director of American studies at Stanford; and Susan Gillman,
professor of literature at UCSC.
For more information, call (831) 427-0414.
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