Gregg Camfield

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Professor
School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts
T: 209-233-1072

Scott Hernandez-Jason
Director of News and Social Media
T: 209-228-4408
M: 209-756-2368

Literature, humor and Mark Twain
Neuroscience and the arts

Gregg Camfield is a literature and culture expert with a penchant for good humor. Camfield has published widely on American literature and culture, from 18th century poet Joel Barlow to the television cartoon Beavis and Butt-Head. Mostly he has worked on the ethical and esthetic debates of the 19th century, concentrating on the works of Mark Twain, American literary humor, literary sentimentalism and domesticity. These perspectives inform his three books, “Sentimental Twain: Mark Twain in the Maze of Moral Philosophy” (Pennsylvania, 1994), “Necessary Madness: The Humor of Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century American Literature” (Oxford, 1997), and “The Oxford Companion to Mark Twain” (2003). He is carrying forward the implications of the second book in a study of what new discoveries in neuroscience can tell us about how people respond to literature and other complex artistic representations.

Camfield is a graduate of Brown University, and he earned his doctorate in English from UC Berkeley.