Episode 64: Imagining the Mississippi River – Thomas Ruys Smith (Water & Waterways, Part 4)

Episode Description

Water. Did you ever stop to think just how important water is to your everyday life? From health, sanitation, and nutrition, to transportation, recreation, and cultural identity, water is just as important today as it has been for countless people for generations. Whether it’s the Mississippi River, the Missouri River, or the endless list of rivers, creeks, ponds, lakes, and even fountains that dot Missouri’s landscape, this series is all about water. So, with that, let’s dive right into Water & Waterways.

This episode features Thomas Ruys Smith, professor of American literature and culture at the University of East Anglia, discussing the cultural life of the Mississippi River and one of its most notable residents, Mark Twain.

About the Guest

Thomas Ruys Smith

Thomas Ruys Smith is a professor of American literature and culture at the University of East Anglia. He is the author of several books, including River of Dreams: Imagining the Mississippi Before Mark Twain, Southern Queen: New Orleans in the Nineteenth Century, and Deep Water: The Mississippi River in the Age of Mark Twain. He is also the editor of several anthologies, including Blacklegs, Card Sharps and Confidence Men: Nineteenth-Century Mississippi River Gambling Stories and Christmas Past: An Anthology of Seasonal Stories from Nineteenth-Century America.