SAMLA 2014-- From Corn-Pone to Delmonico's: Feasting with Twain

full name / name of organization: 
Kathryn Dolan, The Mark Twain Circle of America
contact email: 

Mark Twain is as popular a figure as ever. In "Corn-Pone Opinions" Twain writes, "The black philosopher's idea was, that a man is not independent, and cannot afford views which might interfere with his bread and butter... He must restrict himself to corn-pone opinions—at least on the surface." Twain satirizes the age's customs and politics, using food-based metaphors to do so. During his life, Twain went from corn-pone to Delmonico's. His dinner parties at Nook Farm were magnificent. However, he was also a powerful critic of the excesses and hypocrisies of society. How can we use Twain's writings to re-examine issues of consumption and overconsumption in U.S. society during the second half of the nineteenth century? How does he engage in these issues within the Gilded Age that he helped name?

Topics might include but are not limited to:
Food and drink
Class and race
Consumption and the body
The environment

By June 2, 2014, please submit a 300-word abstract and A/V requirements to Kathryn Dolan, Missouri University of Science and Technology, at