Mark Twain’s Interest in Sufism

Mark Twain might seem like an unlikely admirer of the Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet Omar Khayyam, who wrote a series of brooding meditations on human existence before he died in the twelfth century. . . . An avid reader of all types of literature, however, Twas was bound to encounter the intense vogue for…

“Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Expelled: Censorship and the Classroom” (2017 essay)

“Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Expelled: Censorship and the Classroom,” Critical Insights: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,  ed. R. Kent Rasmussen (Ipswich, MA: Salem Press, 2017), pp. 65-80.   Link to Critical Insights book “Professor Gribben himself recounts, for the first time at length in print, the full story of the NewSouth editions. He also discusses the impact…

“Mark Twain’s Earliest Reading Experiences”

“Alan Gribben participated in a Quarry Farm Symposium: “Mark Twain and Youth” with a paper and PowerPoint presentation about “Mark Twain’s Earliest Literary Experiences.” What Samuel Clemens read as a boy in Hannibal is a tantalizing but essentially unanswerable question. Only a few hints in his later writings suggest the types of books to which…

The Big Read in 2010 (Video)

The idea of removing the n-word from Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn–by translating this detested racial slur as “slave” instead–occurred to me after I completed a tour of libraries in Alabama and Georgia to promote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for the NEA Big Read program. Teachers approached me in every town and said that they could not (or would not) teach…