I also sat down with Bruce Magee, one of the hosts of the Louisiana Anthology Podcast, to discuss plenty of Mississippi River lore, framed around Sam Clemens's visit to Mardi Gras in 1859. It's available here in a variety of formats.
Friday, April 02, 2021
Wednesday, May 06, 2020
Some nice news in the midst of everything: Deep Water has just been selected by the Association of University Presses for its amazing design by Michelle Neustrom at Louisiana State University Press in its annual book, jacket and journal show - specifically in the Scholarly Typographic category. More info and other selections here.
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
One final piece of pre-publication praise for Deep Water, from Professor Sarah Churchwell, author of a number of wonderful books, most recently Behold America: A History of America First and the American Dream:
“An exemplary work of American literary history, situating Mark Twain's writing about the river that so defined it within a wider understanding of how that river culture also shaped America. Comprehensively researched, sweeping in its scope, rich in its depths, Smith's book is an authoritative - likely definitive - primer for understanding what the deep waters of 'The Mississippi' meant to Twain, and still means to American culture.”
Available December 17!
Louisiana State University Press
Friday, August 30, 2019
"Mark Twain knew a thing or two about the Mississippi River. So does Thomas Ruys Smith. In Deep Water, Smith intertwines the life and literature of Twain with the experiences and perspectives of many other people who lived, worked, and played along the Mississippi. Thanks to Smith, we now have a book that fully accounts for Twain’s complicated relationship with the Mississippi, a river that captured, and continues to capture, the American imagination."
—Michael Pasquier, editor of Gods of the Mississippi
"This is the story of a great American writer and a great American river, and the relationship between the two. Thomas Ruys Smith's elegantly written, deeply researched account brings us closer to Mark Twain by enriching our understanding of the river that flowed through his life and work. We see the Mississippi worlds that made Twain, and come away with immeasurably deeper insight into the worlds he made."
—Ben Tarnoff, author of The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers
"By embedding Twain's canonical work on the Mississippi River in the context of what numerous less celebrated others wrote on the same subject, Thomas Ruys Smith provides a valuable new perspective on Twain's vision, not just of the river, but of race, gender, imperialism, and national culture."
Monday, August 26, 2019
I have a long article on the Mississippi in the September issue of History Today (Vol. 69, Issue 9). It was great to use some of the research for Deep Water in this way, and their production values are a delight, as you can see below! At least for now, it's available here.
Friday, August 09, 2019
"Thomas Ruys Smith’s book will be required reading for anyone interested in Mark Twain and / or Mississippi river culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Framing both Twain and the river in new and often unexpectedly rewarding ways, it ranges widely through biography, literature, history, geopolitics, music and other forms of popular culture, issues of national and transnational identity, and much, much, more besides. An outstanding contribution to its various fields."
Available for pre-order!