Solomon Eytinge, illustration for John Hay's "Jim Bludso" (1871)
I've got an article coming out in the next issue of the Mark Twain Journal (Fall 2015): “‘The Mississippi was a virgin field’: Reconstructing the River Before Mark Twain, 1865-1875.” This one was a long time coming! As you can see here, I've been working on this since at least 2009. Gosh, I think it might be even longer. Anyway, I'm delighted that it's coming out in the Mark Twain Journal, and I'm equally delighted with how many illustrations they've allowed me to include. It should look pretty lovely, at least. This is my attempt to build a picture of the cultural life of the Mississippi in the decade before Mark Twain properly claimed the river as a subject. It's still amazing to me how rich this subject is - I look at steamboat races, bridge building, art, literature, travel writing, and plenty of other things too. More information here on the journal's website. I'll update this post when it's available online. Enjoy.