Commencement May 19

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Presented by Tess Chakkalakal, Bowdoin College.

On Tuesday December 5th, 1905, the nation’s most revered and well-known writers from across the United States gathered in New York City to honor Mark Twain’s seventieth birthday. While Twain was the gathering’s undisputed center, the occasion featured several other writers, old and young, whose presence marked a new turn in American literature. The party included several women writers and, for perhaps the first time in the nation’s history, a Black and Native American author sat alongside their white counterparts. A close look at this event, the toasts, the menus, the clothes, and gossip gives us a view of Twain’s lasting influence on American Literature.

Tess Chakkalakal is the author A Matter of Complexion: The Life and Fiction of Charles W. Chesnutt (forthcoming, St. Martin’s) and Novel Bondage: Slavery, Marriage, and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century America (U of Illinois Press, 2011). He is co-editor, with Kenneth W. Warren, of a new edition of Imperium in Imperio: A Critical Edition (West Virginia University Press, 2022) and Jim Crow, Literature, and the Legacy of Sutton E. Griggs (University of Georgia Press, 2013). She is creator and co-host of a new podcast called “Dead Writers: Great American Authors and Where They Lived.” She teaches African American and American Literature at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.


Wednesday, May 22, 2024
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM


Quarry Farm Barn
131 Crane Road

Elmira, NY 14901

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2024 Trouble Begins Lecture Series: Mark Twain's 70th at Demonico's: The Dawn of a New Era in American Literature


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