So Mark Twain had a dark side after all. At least that’s what Steve Alter, professor and chair of the history department, says.

In the first of a series of occasional lectures from the history department this year, Alter will address Twain’s other side and its implications in a talk entitled, “Mark Twain’s Anger: Individualism versus Social Conformity in America, from Ben Franklin to Huck Finn,” on Monday, Sept.  30, at 4:00 p.m. in Jenks 406.  Alter hopes to put the reputation of the great American writer’s in a broader historic context. The lecture is free and open to the public. Here’s how Alter describes the talk:

“I’ll be tracing a ‘great conversation’ about the individual in relation to society, especially the problem of American individualism v. social conformity—and the related question of whether we can trust what our conscience tells us is true. Writers on these subjects include Ben Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Alexis de Tocqueville, and—giving the most penetrating analysis—Mark Twain: whose deepest reflections, of course, occur on a raft floating down the Mississippi.”