“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 he was first attracted. . . . [D]espite the relative isolation of Hannibal, young Clemens had access to a town library, four bookstores, several private libraries, and his brother Orion’s newspaper exchanges.

— Alan Gribben, “Mark Twain’s Lifelong Reading,” Mark Twain and Youth, ed. Kevin Mac Donnell and R. Kent Rasmussen (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016): 30-43. Link to Mark Twain and Youth book

Here is a link to some events at the symposium: “Mark Twain and Youth” video.


Alan Gribben and Nathaniel Ball, Archivist, at Elmira College.

Quarry Farm, October 2016