The Mark Twain Circle of America

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Louis J. Budd, 1921-2010

The Mark Twain Circle mourns the passing of Lou Budd, a prolific, brilliant, and influential scholar, and a steadfast friend.

Like Samuel Clemens, Lou Budd grew up in the heartland and took quiet pride in his humble origins. He served in World War II and received all of his education in American public schools and public universities. A world-renowned expert on the literary revolution of the later nineteenth century, he enriched our thinking for five decades about Mark Twain and the complications of American realism and literary naturalism; as the Managing Editor of the eminent journal American Literature in an era of upheaval about theory and the canon, he mentored and encouraged others with a liberality and empathy that made him a Godsend to younger writers of many persuasions.

Long after he “retired” as a distinguished professor at Duke University, Lou remained in the thick of the action, as fresh discovery and lively debate about Mark Twain continued to build, and his expertise and insight did much to keep that conversation healthy. At special events, he was presenting eloquently and assisting his friends and former students as recently as this past year. He worked long and hard, contributed so much, and never let up — and the Mark Twain Circle is deeply in his debt.

A full obituary for Lou Budd is available at the Duke University Press website.

We hope you’ll take a look, and remember a remarkable American life of teaching and scholarship.

Jim Leonard, Past President

Bruce Michelson, Past President

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