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Nov. 7, 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Young

EMU's Csicsila wins National Endowment for Humanities grant to bring Mark Twain to 'life'

YPSILANTI — Joseph Csicsila, associate professor of English language and literature at Eastern Michigan University, has the unique opportunity to bring American humorist, Mark Twain back to life, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH). 

Csicsila, along with co-directors Lawrence Berkove, from the University of Michigan, and Barbara Snedecor, of Elmira College, will conduct the seminar, “Mark Twain in His Age,” at Twain’s home in Elmira, NY, July 9 - Aug. 4, 2007. 

“In the one-month seminar, visiting scholars will move rapidly over the background of bookish disputes associated with Mark Twain and proceed to the heart of the matter: characteristic ideas in Twain that, like fingerprints, can be used to definitively identify his work and techniques of reading that can reveal the purposes of this master of subtlety and subterfuge,” said Csicsila, of Plymouth.

This is the second time that Csicsila has taught a Twain class.  His first seminar, “Mark Twain for Teachers,” was four years ago, and received rave reviews from participants.

“Taking EMU students out to New York and teaching a course on Twain right there on the front porch of his home was the most fulfilling experience I’ve ever had as an educator,” said Csicsila.  “I still get calls and e-mails from folks in that class.  We all recognize that we took part in something pretty special.  My hope is that this new class will build on the success of our 2002 class.”

“Mark Twain in His Age” is part of the NEH’s “We the People” project, which encourages and strengthens the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture.  The NEH supports projects that explore significant events and themes in our nation’s history and culture that advance the knowledge of the principles that define America.





Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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