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Grant number: FT-249250-16

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James Lawrence Machor
Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS 66506-0100)

Mark Twain: Historical Reception and Iconic Authorship

A book-length study of the reception history of Mark Twain and his works.

I am requesting a Summer Stipend to write chapter 4 of my book on Mark Twain’s reception from the 1860s through the 20th century. Although scholars have extensively explored Twain’s life and writings, attention to the reception of his works has been limited, focusing largely on "Huck Finn." Indeed, though book-length reception studies have been done on the careers and "afterlives" of other major nineteenth-century authors such as Dickens and Whitman, no such study exists for Twain. In providing a full narrative history of the changing responses to his oeuvre, my book will be the first to draw on over 7,000 letters to Twain in the Mark Twain Papers. Given his canonical status and his nearly uninterrupted popularity since the 1870s, my book will thus fill a significant gap in reception study and in nineteenth-century literary studies while offering an original contribution that provides new insights into Twain’s position in literary history and his place in America’s cultural landscape.

Project fields:
American Literature

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 7/31/2016