May 02 2016
The first lecture in the spring portion of The Trouble Begins at Eight Lecture Series will be presented by Dr. Seema Sharma, at 8:00 p.m., on Wednesday, May 4 in the Barn at Quarry Farm. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and attendees are invited to enjoy light refreshments preceding the lecture, which is free and open to the public.
Twain lectured across the Indian subcontinent for three months, beginning January 1896 in Bombay, and then travelling to cities like Baroda, Allahabad, Banaras, Calcutta, Agra, and Delhi. He published his experiences in a travelogue Following the Equator in 1897. This presentation, “Following the Indian Equator: Mark Twain in India,” deals with Twain’s circumstances of his visit to India, his lectures in various cities, his audiences, and his observation of indigenous customs and practices. The talk also points out what Twain observed (or failed to observe) during his travels in India and how this experience might have influenced his later writings. In the second part of the presentation, Dr. Sharma will interpret the title “Mark Twain in India” to mean how the author is received in India, both in academia and in popular culture. Dr. Sharma will argue that a sensitive pedagogy can use the writings of Twain, which deal with issues of race and inequality, to sensitize young readers to similar problems in Indian society.
Dr. Sharma is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Mumbai, India. Her areas of interest include American literature, African American Literature, Postcolonial Literatures, Translation Studies and Indian Mythology and she has published extensively in these fields. Additionally, Dr. Sharma has translated and published critical and creative works from Hindi into English. Her book “Articulating Resistance in African American Slave Narratives” was published in 2011. In the same year she was nominated for the U.S. International Visitor Leadership Program for “Developing American Studies Curricula in India.” Dr. Sharma is currently a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford University.
About The Trouble Begins at Eight Lecture Series
In 1984, the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies initiated a lecture series, The Trouble Begins at Eight. The title came from the handbill advertising Mark Twain’s October 2, 1866 lecture presented at Maguire’s Academy of Music in San Francisco. The first lectures were presented in 1985.
The lectures are now held annually in the fall and spring of each year. By invitation, Mark Twain scholars present lectures in the Barn at Quarry Farm in Elmira, NY. Each lecture is digitally recorded after the event and made available in MP3 format.