San Diego State University@State - What's Happening at San Diego State

March 2010

Feature Stories

A Centennial Celebration for Satirist Mark Twain

photo of Mark TwainSeveral On-Campus Events To Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Twain’s Death, Beginning March 12

Before Jon Stewart skewered his first politician and Bill Maher roasted religion, there was Mark Twain, making Americans laugh—and arguably think—about subjects that weren’t funny at all.

Racism, foreign policy, class, religion and hypocrisy all fell victim to Twain’s wit, as evidenced in the many volumes he penned. Without the aid of television or the Internet, Twain became renowned around the world for his satire and social criticism, as well for helping to create a true American literature based on the nation’s own themes and language.

This year marks the 175th anniversary of Twain’s birth and the 100th anniversary of his death, and the San Diego State University Library plans to celebrate the man dubbed “the nation’s first rock star” by biographer Ron Powers, author of Mark Twain: A Life. The Adventures of Mark Twain: A Centenary Celebration will feature a series of free lectures, events, and an exhibit during spring and fall 2010.

The celebration begins on March 12 with A Mark Twain Centenary Tribute, a play written by Margaret Larlham that is co-sponsored by the SDSU Library and the SDSU School of Theatre, Television and Film. For information about show times and tickets, call the box office at (619) 594-6884.

Lecture series

The lecture series begins on March 23 with Shelley Fisher Fishkin discussing Mark Twain—Ambassador at Large. Fishkin is director of Stanford’s American Studies Program and the author of works on Twain, including the forthcoming Mark Twain’s Book of Animals. The free lecture starts at 3:30 p.m. in Room LL430.

Jerry Griswold, SDSU professor of English and Comparative Literature, will present Twain’s Twins, But I Repeat Myself at 3:30 p.m., April 20, in room LL430. On April 27, Edward Blum, SDSU history professor, will talk about Mark Twain and His Religious War Against Imperialism at 3:30 p.m. in Room LL430.

The lecture series will conclude with Linda Morris’ discussion Escaping in Style: Racial and Gender Crossing in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on May 4 at 3:30 p.m. in Room LL430. Morris is the author of Gender Play in Mark Twain and a professor emeritus of the University of California, Davis. Her lecture is co-sponsored by the SDSU Department of Women’s Studies.

Twain exhibit

In the fall, Special Collections will host a Mark Twain exhibit on loan from Vanderbilt University. This exhibit of rare source material will showcase first edition books and illustrate Twain’s struggles with the copyright laws of his time.

In addition to materials supplied by Vanderbilt, items from the SDSU Library’s Special Collections Department and the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri, will be included. The opening date for the exhibit has not yet been set.

Film series

Also in the fall, the SDSU Library will be featuring several films related to Mark Twain, including a filmed version of Hal Holbrook’s famous one-man show Mark Twain Tonight, the 1985 version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Ken Burns’ series Mark Twain. Dates and locations have not been determined.

Updated information about the celebration and library hours can be found at the library’s website.


SDSU Student Affairs • Bridges to Success