By Randy Fiedler
In a previous post on this blog, we reported that Baylor University’s Dr. Joe B. Fulton, professor of English and one of the country’s most recognized Mark Twain scholars, was awarded the title of “Legacy Scholar” by the Mark Twain Journal. He has also become a member of the journal’s editorial board, and is now serving as publisher and editor-in-chief. The Journal is a nationally recognized academic publication which hosts a staff of renowned Twainian scholars.
In the wake of the news about Fulton’s new position, Dr. Kevin Gardner, chair and professor of English at Baylor, has announced that after months of negotiations, Fulton has signed papers transferring the editorial offices of the Mark Twain Journal from Auburn University to Baylor University.
“The first issue to carry the Baylor name on the masthead will appear this fall,” Gardner said. “The editorial offices of the Mark Twain Journal will be housed in the ground floor of the Carroll Science Building, in a portion of the space previously occupied by the Baylor Writing Center. The space is being remodeled and furnished with funds earned for the Department of English by sales of tickets to the Waco performance of Hal Holbrook’s one-man show ‘Mark Twain Tonight!,’ which was spearheaded by Dr. Fulton in 2016.”
Gardner said it’s appropriate that the publication featuring Twain scholarship is relocating to Waco.
“Baylor is a natural home for the Mark Twain Journal, as we have had a long history of fostering Twain scholars,” Gardner said. “These have included Dr. Dixon Wecter, who did his undergraduate work at Baylor before earning his doctorate and becoming the first professional editor of the Mark Twain Papers, Dr. E. Hudson Long, co-author of The New Mark Twain Handbook, Dr. J. R. LeMaster, co-author of The New Mark Twain Handbook and co-editor of the Mark Twain Encyclopedia, and Dr. Fulton.”
Fulton said he’s excited about what having the Mark Twain Journal produced on the Baylor campus will mean, both for the University and for the English department.
“Having Baylor’s name on the title page for every issue will be a great step toward R-1 [research] status,” Fulton said. “The Mark Twain Journal will extend our reach and influence in ways that might not be obvious. Our readership extends beyond the academic to reach fans of Mark Twain — and I hope they will become fans of Baylor, too.”
Fulton said having the journal offices on campus will also benefit Baylor students.
“We are already talking in the English department about how we can involve students, both graduate and undergraduate, in the production of the journal,” he said. “And of course for me, this means that I will get to spend even more time with America’s favorite author — and mine.”
Fulton has published five books on Twain, the most recent being “Mark Twain Under Fire: Reception and Reputation, Criticism and Controversy, 1851-2018.”
The Mark Twain Journal is a biannual periodical founded in 1936 by Cyril Clemens, who served as editor from 1936 to 1982. It is one of the oldest American journals devoted to a single author. Following editorships by Dr. Thomas A. Tenney and Dr. Alan Gribben, Dr. Fulton is serving as the Journal’s fourth editor.
Carroll Science photo courtesy of Baylor University
Joe Fulton photo courtesy of the Waco Tribune-Herald