Park Church Lecture Series Concludes Wednesday
ELMIRA, NY (07/09/2018) The 2018 Park Church Lecture Series, hosted by the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, concludes Wednesday, July 9 in the historic and cultural landmark, The Park Church, 208 W. Gray Street, Elmira. The lecture begins at 7:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public.
The final lecture, "Mark Twain and The Native Other," is presented by Kerry Driscoll from the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut. In his 1899 essay "Concerning the Jews," Twain states: I am quite sure that (bar one) I have no race prejudices, and I think I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being-that is enough for me; he can't be any worse." Although the writer refused to name the one bias he admits to harboring, abundant evidence in his work suggests that the allusion is to Native Americans, whom he referred to in print as "reptiles, "vermin," and "good, fair, desirable subject[s] for extermination." This presentation explores the origin and evolution of Twain's attitudes toward indigenous peoples and probes the reasons underlying his animus.
Driscoll is professor of English (emerita) at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT. She is the past president of the Mark Twain Circle of America, a member of the editorial board for the Circle's journal, the Mark Twain Annual, and serves on the Board of Trustees at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford. In addition to numerous essays she has published on Twain's work, she is the author of Mark Twain among the Indians and Other Indigenous Peoples (University of California Press, 2018), the first book-length study of the author's conflicted attitudes toward, and representations of, Native Americans.
About The Park Church
Founded in 1846 by a group of abolitionists, The Park Church has been a strong presence in Elmira's history and some members of its congregation were close friends and family members to Mark Twain. Known for its striking architectural features, The Park Church contained Elmira's first public library and has a long history of charitable service to the Elmira community. Currently, it is an "Open and Affirming Congregation," welcoming all people to worship and participate in its communal life, regardless of ethnic origin, race, class, age, ability, gender, or sexual orientation.
About the Center for Mark Twain Studies
The Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies was founded in January 1983 with the gift of Quarry Farm to Elmira College by Jervis Langdon, the great-grand-nephew of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. The Center offers distinctive programs to foster and support Mark Twain scholarship and to strengthen the teaching of Mark Twain at all academic levels. The Center serves the Elmira College community and regional, national, and international students and scholars of Mark Twain.
About Elmira College
Elmira College is a private, coeducational, Phi Beta Kappa college founded in 1855, located in Elmira, New York. The College has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 1,200 full-time mostly-residential students, and is the guardian of Quarry Farm where Mark Twain wrote many of his most iconic novels and is today a research center for visiting Twain scholars. The College has been ranked as a Best College in the Northeast by The Princeton Review and a national Top Tier liberal arts college by U.S. News & World Report, which has also ranked Elmira College as a leading college, nationally, for student internships. The Philadelphia Inquirer cited the Elmira College campus as 'picture postcard perfect.'