[UPDATE] CFP: Mark Twain's Influence on 20th and 21st Century Culture SAMLA 2010
Humor must not professedly teach, and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever. By forever, I mean thirty years. . . . I have always preached. That is the reason I have lasted thirty years.
—Mark Twain in Eruption 202
2010 marks the centennial of Mark Twain's death, and his continued force in academia and in the wider community reveals the modesty of his own estimates. His books continue to sell well, and two of his novels remain on the American Library Association's list of the "100 Most Frequently Banned Books." Twain's "preaching" cut to the heart of deep contradictions in American culture, and a century after his death, he continues to inspire us to participate actively in difficult conversations. Like the humor he claimed came "of its own accord and uninvited," Twain remains vibrantly a part of who we are as a nation.
This panel seeks to use the opportunity of the centennial to examine aspects of Twain's writing and thought that reach forward into our own time. The scope of this panel is fairly broad, and I welcome papers that examine Twain's own writings and their relevance to us today. Equally, I am interested in papers that examine later writers or performers who felt his influence: modern "preachers" who are compelled to re-examine some of the questions he raised, the characters he created, the laughter he provoked, the controversies he aroused, or the scathing critiques he offered.
250-word abstracts or complete papers should be submitted no later than May 25th to: