Areas of Research
Mark Twain’s life and writings; 19th-century American women writers & their readers; 19th & 20th-century immigrant writing; 19th-century American literature; issues of national identity, citizenship, religion, & race in American literature and culture.
Mark Twain, the World, and Me. A collection of essays tracing themes Mark Twain starts in Following the Equator, his travelogue recounting his 1895/96 lecture tour around the world. The themes include genocide, cross-race and cross-gender ambiguity, species decimation, Hindu rituals, and South African politics. The essays are cross-genre: Twain biography and lit crit; historical research; Harris's own personal narrative. In-Process.
God’s Arbiters: Americans and the Philippines, 1898-1902 (Oxford, 2011); Annie Adams Fields, Mary Gladstone Drew, and The Work of the Late 19th-Century Hostess (Palgrave/St. Martin's, 2002); The Courtship of Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain(Cambridge, 1996); 19th-Century American Women's Novels: Interpretive Strategies(Cambridge, 1990); Mark Twain's Escape from Time: A Study of Patterns and Images(Missouri, 1982).
Editions: Kate Douglas Wiggins, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (Penguin, 2005); Catharine Maria Sedgwick, A New-England Tale (Penguin, 2003); Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Houghton Mifflin, 2000); Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Minister's Wooing (Penguin, 1999); Mark Twain: Historical Romances (Library of America, 1994).
Selected, Recently Published or Accepted and Forthcoming (Post-Retirement):
"'WHOHOO!!! JOAN OF ARC!!!!! KICKIN' BUTT!': Goodreads Reviewers Read Mark Twain's Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc." Special Issue on Twain' Joan of Arc, American Literary Realism, Fall, 2018. In process.
"My Life with Mark Twain, Chapter One--Hinduism." Mark Twain Annual, Vol 15 (Fall, 2017), 1-21.
“Mother Ganga: Tales of Purity and Pollution.” Catamaran Literary Reader. Vol 3, Issue 4 (Winter, 2015), 53-59.
“Mark Twain.” 1250 word entry in Blum, Edward J., ed. America in the World, 1776 to the Present: A Supplement to the Dictionary of American History. 2 vols. Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2016.
“Mark Twain and the Philippine-American War.” Encyclopedia of Mark Twain’s World, ed. Sharon McCoy. Greenwood Press. Forthcoming.
My last few years of teaching saw me deeply engaged with questions of national identity, immigration, race, and religion in American culture. Most of my energies were channeled into my students; especially encouraging them to read within broad historical and cultural contexts. Retirement has given me the opportunity to explore new avenues: the big project (Mark Twain, the World, and Me) being a book of cross-genre essays tracking my journeys in the wake of Mark Twain's 1896 lecture tour around the British Empire. In this collection, I not only explore Twain's own responses to India, Australia, and South Africa in 1896, I also recount my own adventures on his trail, all while bringing Twain's observations about animal decimation, indigenous representation, Hindu practice, and colonialism into our time. Smaller projects include essays on Twain's thoughts and writings; histories of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, where I currently live and where I head a local history group for our neighborhood association website; and speaking engagements at Twain sites, literary conferences, and symposia.