"Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens' way of seeing and hearing things changed America's way of seeing and hearing things ... he was the Lincoln of American literature," quoted from a recent biography of the creator of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. In his prime, a century after the Declaration of Independence, Twain was a Yankee original who rendered the vocabulary and tone of the American vernacular, previously despised, in a way that was neither parody, nor caricature, but literature. Throughout his writing career, Twain crafted numerous short stories, ranging in topic from frontier humor to his travels abroad, to blue jays, frogs and dogs. In two sessions, we will explore this American original’s short fiction. The three stories read include "A Ghost Story," "Taming the Bicycle" and "The Jumping Frog." Copies of the stories will be emailed and also available at the first class.